CHILD BY THE ROADSIDE

Child by the roadside, staring
In terror at the stranger looming
Over your cringing body, when
Ah when will you set me free?

Child by the roadside weeping
I have spent my whole life trying
To put right the wrong we did that day
To keep your mother from dying

Child by the roadside bleeding
I have spent my whole life seeking
The path to the light, to write with light
To keep the darkness from spreading.

Come, take my hand, be not afraid.
Stand before me here as I kneel
Before you in supplication.
Forgive me, forgive me, I pray.

What can I do to set you at rest?
What can I do to put things right?
What can I offer to bring you peace
Now and for always?

Nothing? Then what do you want from me?
My life? You already have it.
My blood? It is already spilled
In everything I make.

My death? No: I’d not have you be
A vengeful ghost, seeking forever
To perpetuate this cruel hunger
For senseless suffering.

No, I’m not yet through atoning
through endless longing for the place
where life and love and learning bring
all pain to a close

Look at me. Tell me, don’t you see
That lying by the roadside is
Not just you, but also me,
Has always been so?

Come, let it be. I beg of you
Let me speak for you, for the life
We took from you and bring your voice
To pure song once more

Just as it was before we came
And cast it high so all may hear your cry
around the world: it is not right
that a child should die

Gray Sutherland