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CHARLES MONROE DICKINSON
American poet
(1842 - 1924)

I ask not a life for the dear ones,
  All radiant, as others have done,
    But that life may have just enough shadow
      To temper the glare of the sun;
        I would pray God to guard them from evil,
          But my prayer would bound back to myself:
            Ah! a seraph may pray for a sinner,
              But a sinner must pray for himself.
      - The Children [Prayer]

The twig is so easily bended
  I have banished the rule and the rod:
    I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,
      They have taught me the goodness of God;
        My heart is the dungeon of darkness,
          When I shut them for breaking a rule;
            My frown is sufficient correction;
              My love is the law of the school.
      - The Children [Teaching]

They are idols of hearts and of households;
  They are angels of God in disguise;
    His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,
      His glory still gleams in their eyes;
        Those truants from home and from Heaven
          They have made me more manly and mild;
            And I know now how Jesus could liken
              The kingdom of God to a child.
      - The Children [Childhood]

When the lessons and tasks are all ended,
  And the school for the day is dismissed,
    The little one gather around me,
      To bid me good-night and be kissed;
        On, the little white arms that encircle
          My neck in their tender embrace
            Oh, the smiles that are halos of heaven,
              Shedding sunshine of love on my face.
      - The Children [Childhood]


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