Edith Nesbit

15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924 / Kennington / Surrey / England

Children's Playground In The City

THIS is a place where men laid their dead,
Each with his life-tale of good or ill;
Here prayers were murmured and hot tears shed,
And passionate anguish moaned its fill.
Silent now is each voice that cried,
And the tears that were wept have all been dried
In the dust; and dust are the hearts that bled
With hopeless longing for hearts grown still.
Dead and forgotten! for Death, requiter
Of love, taught Memory how to forget!
The love that remembered them died. Grow brighter,
Oh, dim grave-garden, with dead hearts set!
Room for the small flying feet to pass,
The feet of the children over the grass!
The dead, if they knew it, would feel them lighter
Than the weight of a stone that no tears make wet.
We must die too, and the grief that will live
Must die as surely--death comes to all;
But you who come after--let Nature give
To our graves her tears, to our dust her pall:
Let her hide us away in her cold broad breast,
Let us be forgotten, and be at rest,
And over our heads let the great world strive,
And the children's voices carol and call.
If your heart on the flower of remembrance is set,
There is one way to pluck it--and only one:
Dare you ask your country not to forget
A name that needs to be graved on stone?
By grief, strife, sacrifice, scorn of fame,
You may grave on the people's hearts your name,
Or your name may die, and your soul live yet
In the cause you died for--the work you have done.
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