To an Amiable Child
On upper Riverside Drive, New York,
there is an enclosure containing a child's
grave. It is marked by a funerary urn,
the base of which bears this inscription:
''Erected to the Memory of an Amiable
Child, St. Claire Pollock. Died 15 July 1797,
in the Fifth Year of His Age."
Was it because you'd wear
Your half-grown wisdom with a
Debonair gaiety, and laughed less than you smiled?
Or because you were tolerant
Of rainy days, of games and company you did not want?
I see you stilly radiant,
And — like delicious food, delicious play —
Loving music and motion and
Pleasure you did not understand
In voice or face or golden weather;
But sometimes for whole hours together
Hooding yourself in silence;
And when you tired of being good,
Driving them wild.
Could you go with death, making no outcry
If slow-footed, as though with nurse at bedtime?
You lie alone here.
Turfs and a quaint urn
Cover the dust of your small body.
Of your inimitable ways is over.
Child, amiable centuries ago,
At your city-huddled little grave
You are remembered so:
Haunting too merrily for a ghost, you are loved