At Dawn and Dusk

The Dead Child

Victor James Daley

ALL silent is the room,
    There is no stir of breath,
Save mine, as in the gloom
    I sit alone with Death.

Short life it had, the sweet,
    Small babe here lying dead,
With tapers at its feet
    And tapers at its head.

Dear little hands, too frail
    Their grasp on life to hold;
Dear little mouth so pale,
    So solemn, and so cold;

Small feet that nevermore
    About the house shall run;
Thy little life is o’er!
    Thy little journey done!

Sweet infant, dead too soon,
    Thou shalt no more behold
The face of sun or moon,
    Or starlight clear and cold;

Nor know, where thou art gone,
    The mournfulness and mirth
We know who dwell upon
    This sad, glad, mad, old earth.

The foolish hopes and fond
    That cheat us to the last
Thou shalt not feel; beyond
    All these things thou hast passed.

The struggles that upraise
    The soul by slow degrees
To God, through weary days—
    Thou hast no part in these.

And at thy childish play
    Shall we, O little one,
No more behold thee? Nay,
    No more beneath the sun.

Death’s sword may well be bared
    ’Gainst those grown old in strife,
But, ah! it might have spared
    Thy little unlived life.

Why talk as in despair?
    Just God, whose rod I kiss,
Did not make thee so fair
    To end thy life at this.

There is some pleasant shore—
    Far from His Heaven of Pride,
Where those strong souls who bore
    His Cross in bliss abide—

Some place where feeble things,
    For Life’s long war too weak,
Young birds with unfledged wings,
    Buds nipped by storm-winds bleak,

Young lambs left all forlorn
    Beneath a bitter sky,
Meek souls to sorrow born,
    Find refuge when they die.

There day is one long dawn,
    And from the cups of flowers
Light dew-filled clouds updrawn
    Rain soft and perfumed showers.

Child Jesus walketh there
    Amidst child-angel bands,
With smiling lips, and fair
    White roses in His hands.

I kiss thee on the brow,
    I kiss thee on the eyes—
Farewell! Thy home is now
    The Children’s Paradise.

At Dawn and Dusk - Contents

Back    |    Words Home    |    Victor James Daley Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback