The Child On The Curbstone

The headlights raced; the moon, death-faced,
Stared down on that golden river.
I saw through the smoke the scarlet cloak
Of a boy who could not shiver.

His father's hand forced him to stand,
The traffic thundered slaughter;
One foot he thrust in the whirling dust
As it were running water.

As in a dream I saw the stream
Scatter in drops that glistened;
They flamed, they flashed, his brow they splashed,
And danger's son was christened.

The portent passed; his fate was cast,
Sea-farer, desert-ranger.
Tearless I smiled on that fearless child
Dipping his foot in Danger.

by Elinor Morton Wylie

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