A Child on Loan

A Child on Loan
a poem
by – Edgar Guest


“I’ll lend to you for a little time,
A child of mine,” God said,
“For you to love while he lives
And mourn for when he’s dead.”

“It may be one or seven years
Or twenty-one or three,
But will you till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?”

“He’ll bring his charms to gladden you
And should his stay be brief,
You’ll have these precious memories
To comfort you through grief.”

“I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.”

“I’ve looked this world over,
In my search for teachers true.
In the crowds of this great land,
I have selected you.”

“Now will you give him all your love
Not think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
To take him back again?”

I fancied what I heard them say,
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
the risk of grief we’ll run.

We’ll shelter him with tenderness,
we’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known,
forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for him,
sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.”