Four or Five

I was maybe four or five

When first I found myself alive

Next after I discovered dread

When I saw I should soon be dead

 

By my good mother I drew love

Into my heart to live and move

By love I came to where dismayal

By breach of love gave on betrayal

 

Then caution stirred, I burrowed-in

I would protect myself within

Around me I saw do the same

All of the children I might name

 

It was each person against the rest

And everyone would be the best

The vested and the invited guest

And everything became contest

 

And I grew older and more wise

I sensed the other person’s guise

And everybody saw through mine:

And so we all are brought in line

 

And so we learned, it’s best apart

Inside the prison of one’s heart

Each to another, guessing games –

And who to credit; and whoso blames?

 

Now having grown to man’s estate

Observing presently and late

I saw around me driving hate

Working my fellows fitful madness

Sending us sufferings, given regardless,

 

I saw how seeking means to live

Is making way by push and shove

I saw some straitened sons go under

Because trod down or in a blunder

 

And women’s anguish giving birth

A little child to them brought mirth

An unmixed joy, a living spirit,

Who forthwith must this world inherit

 

Placed under circled bands, in fetters

Made by ourselves, and cannot shatter

Left by ourselves, by nature captive,

But Good Lord God in this has acted

 

And sent a Saviour that we might

Observe right’s ways and cease this fight

Turn one another from dread frays;

To honour God, and praise His ways

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