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II The School Globe

James Reaney


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Dark Lagoon

Here lies the newborn child
Who, lately, lay within his mother
And stood beside a dark lagoon
Beneath a sunless, starless sky.
Great trees of thick foliage and stout trunks
Hid someone who, far away,
Seemed to be knocking out this epitaph
With muffled chisel on muffled stone:
“This child will someday die.”
But these sounds came really
From his secret Sun,
His mother’s heart that hung
Unseen in that dark sky.
The heart, whose tick-tocking
Was life to him, still prophesied
The ticking chisel of the monument-maker
As it should someday carve his name.
His mother’s heart, the reason for his being,
Was yet the first clock he ever heard.
Here lies the baby innocent.
He is hardly as large
As the Gettysburg Address
And has never heard

The cry of “Eenie, minie, moe”,
By which children choose a loser in a game,
And by which Fate seems to choose
Which children shall be which:
One-eyed, wilful, hare-lipped, lame,
Poor, orphans, idiots, or rich.
Nor has he read stories where
People cry, “I
Am betrayed”; a notion
That shall haunt him all his life
As also shall that dark lagoon
Where once he stood
And seemed in a grave
Though he had not yet been born;
And seemed to hear his mother’s heart
Though also a clock
That with little clicking mouthfuls
Began to eat his time.