William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

Little Boy - Poem by William Bell Scott

I.
Little boy, whose great round eye
Hath the tincture of the sky,
Answer now, and tell me true,
Whence and what and why are you?
And he answered, ‘Mother's boy.’
Yes, yes, I know,
But 'twas not so
Six years ago.
You are mother's anxious joy,
Mother's pet,
But yet—
A trouble came within the eye
That had some tincture of the sky.


II.
I looked again, within that eye
There was a question, not reply—
I only shaded back his hair,
And kissed him there;
But from that day
There was more thinking and less play;
And that round eye,
That had a tincture of the sky,
Was somewhat shaded in its sheen;
It looked and listened far away,
As if for what can not be seen.


III.
When I turned about and cried,
But who am I
Prompting thus the dawning soul?
I cannot hide
The want of a reply,
Though travelling nearer to the goal
Where we take no note of time:
I can only say I AM,
A phrase, a word, that hath no rhyme,
The name God called Himself, the best
To answer the weak patriarch's quest.


IV.
Why talk nonsense to a child?’
Asks the mother from the fire,
Listening through both back and ears,
Listening with a mother's fears:—
Already is he something wild,
Says that he can fly down stair!
I do desire
You questioning men would have a care,—
He is my child, my only one,
You'll make him try to touch the sun!’

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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