God of the Young

BEAUTIFUL are thy works and ways, O god of the young,
Of the flinging awkward foal, of the stiff-legged lamb
Bounding about the field with frisk of tail,
Of the shying calf, big-eared, butting its dam,
Menacing boulders, shaking its head at a stranger.
Beautiful is the sky you bend above them,
Hot in their hearts the sun they know must love them,
Shy and wild their eyes, but their sinews knit to prevail,
Lovely their swagger at danger. . . .
And beautiful too all gawky girls and boys,
Shamefaced gangling lads with voices changing,
Girls with queer questions, tearful irateness,
Boys with mooning gruffness and growing lateness
From absent-minded ranging. . . .
The inarticulate throat, the constricted breast,
Afoot with the wind in the night lest the heart burst,
The wild and ignorant grief, the fiery crest
Of a morning new upon the hills of time,
The early dawn deliverance of dew
From thudding pulses and dark desperate thirst,
Day’s ardor, wings of dusk, the manifest
Glory, like white fire, in a phrase or a rhyme!
Age has its wounds and wisdom, its pride; the scoring harrows
Have harrowed its every field; it knows, and may not explain.
Its trust is in mercy. But these, fiery of great tomorrows,
Be with them, god of the young, uphold them again and again,
That the bowstring sing ere the bright bow fall unstrung,
That the full throat sing ere stricken of song to be sung,
That their hope be not in vain. O god of the valiant young,
Be with them, god of the young!