Off To School By Edgar Albert Guest

Off To School

IT doesn’t seem a year ago that I was tumbling out of bed,
The icy steps that lead below at 1 a.m., barefoot, to tread,
And puttering round the kitchen stove, while chills ran up and down my form
As I stood there and waited for her bottled dinner to get warm;
Then sampled it to see that it was not too hot or not too cool,
That doesn’t seem a year ago, and now she’s trudging off to school.

It doesn’t seem a month ago that I was teaching her to walk,
And holding out my arms to her. And that was ‘fore she learned to talk.
I stood her up against the wall, eager, yet watchful lest she fall,
Then suddenly she came to me—the first two steps those feet so small
Had, unassisted, ever made! Those feet I hope to guide and rule;
That doesn’t seem a month ago—and now she’s trudging off to school.

It doesn’t seem a week ago that we were playing peeka-boo,
She’d lift her little dress and hide her face as all the babies do;
And then we’d laugh and romp and shout, and I would ride her pig-a-back.
A pair of gay disturbers we, with not a care along life’s track!
The days were meant for laughter then, and I was glad to play the fool,
That doesn’t seem a week ago—and now she’s trudging off to school.

Oh, Father Time, line deep my brow, and tinge my thinning hair with gray,
Deal harshly with my battered form as you go speeding on your way;
Print on my face your marks of years, and stamp me with your yesterdays,
But, oh, tread softly now, I pray, the ground whereon my baby plays.
Pass over her with gentle touch; to keep her young break every rule,
But yesterday she was a babe—and now she’s trudging off to school.

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