As The Sparks Fly Upward
The little babe I held upon my knee
Had not yet banished from his sleeping eyes
The dreams of some lost world from which he came,
Nor missed some angel-choirèd paradise.
Strange little soul that claimed me not his own
By glance or smile, but with no seeing gaze
Looked to me who, all timid, dared to call
This wonder mine, and held it in amaze.
I prayed, 'When comes the light of consciousness
Of things that be to hold him so he seek
To know what place life now had set him in,
And at whose mercy left, so young and weak,
'Let it be mine, the face he first shall see
Bent on him, full of welcome and of joy,
So that his smile, on thus beholding love,
The pain of coming tears shall half destroy.
'Or if some day he looks to learn, and I
Am not beside, oh! let it be the sun
Or some fair thing shall greet his seeing eyes,
So he shall find life good and well begun.'
Beside the fire I held him close, and sang
Some sweet child ditty, bidding him to sleep,
And broke the log to make it flame and glow;
Then in his eyes I saw a wonder creep.
Now peeped the soul from out his startled gaze.
'Look first on me,' I cried, 'my little child!'
But from my kiss he held his face away,
And as the sparks flew up he saw and smiled.