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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.


Elinor Wylie




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