Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NOBODY'S CHILD, by PHOEBE CARY

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NOBODY'S CHILD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Only a newsboy, under the light
Last Line: "if one of these ""little ones"" be lost!"
Subject(s): Orphans; Kindness

ONLY a newsboy, under the light
Of the lamp-post plying his trade in vain:
Men are too busy to stop to-night,
Hurrying home through the sleet and rain.
Never since dark a paper sold;
Where shall he sleep, or how be fed?
He thinks as he shivers there in the cold,
While happy children are safe abed.

Is it strange if he turns about
With angry words, then comes to blows,
When his little neighbor, just sold out,
Tossing his pennies, past him goes?
"Stop!" -- some one looks at him, sweet and mild,
And the voice that speaks is a tender one:
"You should not strike such a little child,
And you should not use such words, my son!"

Is it his anger or his fears
That have hushed his voice and stopped his arm?
"Don't tremble," these are the words he hears;
"Do you think that I would do you harm?"
"It isn't that," and the hand drops down;
"I wouldn't care for kicks and blows;
But nobody ever called me son,
Because I'm nobody's child, I s'pose."

O men! as ye careless pass along,
Remember the love that has cared for you;
And blush for the awful shame and wrong
Of a world where such a thing could be true!
Think what the child at your knee had been
If thus on life's lonely billows tossed;
And who shall bear the weight of the sin,
If one of these "little ones" be lost!

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