Of Birthdays

For us Life's wheel runs backward. Other nests
Are stripped of all their fledglings when our Fate
Pitying may be, a childhood desolate,
Brings home deferred,—unparted each one rests
Beneath one roof.
But the year's fitful span
Brings change & growth & half displeased you say
Musing upon the babes of yesterday:
'Behold, she is a woman; He a man.'

Yet, spite of all, the childish wonder clings
About our spirits when we hear him say—
Our Father—'Children I was born to-day.'
And we return to nursery wonderings
Back comes the childish question to the tongue
Father a child!—Was Father ever young?