What Child

by John Enright

Because we are not on this earth forever
But only for a time; because we see
Beyond ourselves to distant generations
Where others, brave and true, are yet to be;

Because we know that humankind's endeavor
Goes on and on without a stop in sight;
Because we feel that fear and desperation
Deserve to be dissolved in joyous light;

Why then we look at every newborn child
With awed respect: for each may be the one
To show the way — to shoulder weights high-piled —
To throw off burdens crushing as a ton.

Behold Man's hopes: for giant steps are all
Made by feet that once were soft and small.