A Lullaby


James Agee

Sleep, child, lie quiet, let be:

Now like a still wind, a great tree,

Night upon this city moves

Like leaves, our hungers and our loves.

Sleep, rest easy, while you may.

Soon it is day.

And elsewhere likewise love is stirred:

Elsewhere the speechless song is heard:

Wherever children sleep or wake

Souls are lifted, hearts break.

Sleep, be careless while you can.

Soon you are man.

And everywhere good men contrive

Good reasons not to be alive.

And even should they build their best

No man could bear tell you the rest.

Sleep child, for your parents' sake.

Soon you must wake.


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