Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
The Child in Me
 
May Riley Smith
 
 
SHE follows me about my House of Life
(This happy little ghost of my dead Youth!)
She has no part in Time’s relentless strife
She keeps her old simplicity and truth—
And laughs at grim Mortality,        5
This deathless Child that stays with me—
(This happy little ghost of my dead Youth!)
 
My House of Life is weather-stained with years—
(O Child in Me, I wonder why you stay.)
Its windows are bedimmed with rain of tears,        10
The walls have lost their rose, its thatch is gray.
One after one its guests depart,
So dull a host is my old heart.
(O Child in Me, I wonder why you stay!)
 
For jealous Age, whose face I would forget,        15
Pulls the bright flowers you bring me from my hair
And powders it with snow; and yet—and yet
I love your dancing feet and jocund air.
I have no taste for caps of lace
To tie about my faded face—        20
I love to wear your flowers in my hair.
 
O Child in Me, leave not my House of Clay
Until we pass together through the Door,
When lights are out, and Life has gone away
And we depart to come again no more.        25
We comrades who have travelled far
Will hail the Twilight and the Star,
And smiling, pass together through the Door!
 

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