Childhood, sweet and sunny childhood,
With its careless, thoughtless air,
Like the verdant, tangled wildwood,
Wants the training hand of care.
See it springing all around us --
Glad to know, and quick to learn;
Asking questions that confound us;
Teaching lessons in its turn.
Who loves not its joyous revel,
Leaping lightly on the lawn,
Up the knoll, along the level,
Free and graceful as a fawn?
Let it revel; it is nature
Giving to the little dears
Strength of limb, and healthful features,
For the toil of coming years.
He who checks a child with terror,
Stops its play, and stills its song,
Not alone commits an error,
But a great and moral wrong.
Give it play, and never fear it --
Active life is no defect;
Never, never break its spirit --
Curb it only to direct.
Would you dam the flowing river,
Thinking it would cease to flow?
Onward it must go forever --
Better teach it where to go.
Childhood is a fountain welling,
Trace its channel in the sand,
And its currents, spreading, swelling,
Will revive the withered land.
Childhood is the vernal season;
Trim and train the tender shoot;
Love is to the coming reason,
As the blossom to the fruit.
Tender twigs are bent and folded --
Art to nature beauty lends;
Childhood easily is moulded;
Manhood breaks, but seldom bends.
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Comments about this poem (Childhood by David Bates )
Rainer Maria Rilke
(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
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(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
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