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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
page: 63

A Word for the Future

  • WHEN we sow the good seed of the present,
  • That the future will garner and gain,
  • For whom do we till, weed, and water,
  • For whom watch the sun and the rain,
  • With passionate faith that our waiting
  • And labour will not be in vain?
  • Not the men and the women about us—
  • Themselves but themselves can make free;
  • Not they, more than we, the full harvest
  • Of the seed we are sowing will see;
  • But the fruits will be reaped by the children—
  • The men and the women to be.
page: 64
  • O, the children!—the rose‐leaf soft faces,
  • The sweet little voices, and mild,
  • The arms that have clung and caressed us,
  • The lips that have babbled and smiled,—
  • Have these blinded us so we discern not
  • That a child is not only a child?
  • Not only a toy and a treasure
  • For mother’s and father’s delight,
  • Not only a flower want may wither,
  • Or lovelessness ruin and blight,
  • But a soul to be saved, in Truth’s sunshine,
  • Or lost where Truth’s absence makes night.
  • And the souls that shall shape the world’s future
  • Are the souls we are shaping to‐day!
  • Let the children have share in our justice,
  • Not just in our pity and play.
  • They will do the world’s work, and our work is
  • To show them the work and the way.
  • And he who is helping the children,
  • Who are frail as the buds of a rose,
  • Who is keeping the canker from blighting
  • The blossoms before they unclose,
  • And making the future sons hardy
  • To face all the future’s fell foes,—
  • He is doing the world’s work eternal
  • That the first dawn of soul saw begun;
  • He is hastening the hour when the children
  • The battles we lost will have won:
  • When the deeds that we did not, and could not,
  • Those small hands—grown strong—will have done.