Nobody's Child

By Phila H. Case

Alone in the dreary, pitiless street,
With my torn old dress, and bare, cold feet,
All day have I wandered to and fro,
Hungry and shivering, and nowhere to go;
The night’s coming on in darkness and dread,
And the chill sleet beating upon my bare head.
Oh! why does the wind blow upon me so wild?
Is it because I am nobody’s child?
Just over the way there’s a flood of light,
And warmth, and beauty, and all things bright;
Beautiful children, in robes so fair,
Are caroling songs in their rapture there.
I wonder if they, in their blissful glee,
Would pity a poor little beggar like me,
Wandering alone in the merciless street,
Naked and shivering, and nothing to eat?
Oh! what shall I do when the night comes down
In its terrible blackness all over the town?
Shall I lay me down ‘neath the angry sky,
On the cold, hard pavement, alone to die,
When the beautiful children their prayers have said,
And their mammas have tucked them up snugly in bed?
For no dear mother on me ever smiled.
Why is it, I wonder, I’m nobody’s child?
No father, no mother, no sister, not one
In all the world loves me—e’en the little dogs run
When I wander too near them; ’tis wondrous to see
How everything shrinks from a beggar like me!
Perhaps ’tis a dream; but sometimes, when I lie
Gazing far up in the dark blue sky,
Watching for hours some large bright star,
I fancy the beautiful gates are ajar,
And a host of white-robed, nameless things
Come fluttering o’er me on gilded wings;
A hand that is strangely soft and fair
Caresses gently my tangled hair,
And a voice like the carol of some wild bird—
The sweetest voice that was ever heard—
Calls me many a dear, pet name,
Till my heart and spirit are all aflame.

They tell me of such unbounded love,
And bid me come to their home above;
And then with such pitiful, sad surprise
They look at me with their sweet, tender eyes,
And it seems to me, out of the dreary night
I am going up to that world of light,
And away from the hunger and storm so wild;
I am sure I shall then be somebody’s child.

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