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Man Child

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Written by Robert William Service

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 All day he lay upon the sand
When summer sun was bright,
And let the grains sift through his hand
With infantile delight;
Just like a child, so soft and fair,
Though he was twenty-five -
An innocent, my mother -care
Had kept so long alive.
Oh it is hard to bear a cross For five-and-twenty years; A daft son and a husband's loss Are woes out-weighing tears.
Yet bright and beautiful was he, Though barely could he walk; And when he signaled out to sea His talk was baby talk.
The man I loved was drowned out there When we were ten weeks wed.
'Tis bitter hard a boy to bear That's fathered by the dead.
And now I give my life to him Because he needs me so; And as I look my sight is dim With pity, love and woe.
Then suddenly I see him rise, Tall, stalwart and serene .
Lo! There he stands before my eyes, The man he might have been.
"Dear Mother mine," I hear him say, "The curse that bound me fast, Some miracle has swept away, And all you pain is past.
Now I am strong and sane and free, And you shall have your due; For as you loved and cherished me, I'll love and cherish you.
" His kisses sooth away my pain, His clasp is paradise .
Then - then I look at him again With terror in my eyes: For down he sinks upon the sand, And heavy droops his head; The golden grains drift through his hand .
I know - my boy is dead.

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