Eleanor Farjeon

A Child’s Fear

“Come to your poor old Mother,” she said
Smiling, and gathered to her breast
With her good hands her baby’s head;
But the child’s eyes looked out oppressed.
“Not old--not_ old--it isn’t true!
Everyone may be old but you.”

Old?--Old, you see, is much too near
The half-imagined thing that takes
Our Mothers where they do not hear
Even when their baby wakes
And cries for comfort in the gloom--
Babies to cry, and Mothers not come!

Within the safe arms round her curled,
“Oh,” she half sobbed, “I wish you’d be
The youngest person in the world--
How old are you? not old?” begged she,
And caught a little panting breath,
Then lay quite still and thought of death.

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