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Coming Home from School

From The Tacoma Times, October 10, 1912.
By Edmund Vance Cooke.
 

 The buoyant boys, the gladsome girls are coming home from school!
 My blood runs red with revelry, though years have made it cool.
 The flit of little bodies and the bobbing mob of heads,
 Canary yellows, raven blacks, thrush browns and robin reds!
 The swirl of girlish garments and the letting loose of lungs,
 The babble and the Babel, yet the fusion of the tongues.
 O, Wisdom, thou'rt a droning dunce! O, Learning, thou'rt a fool!
 O, let me be a child again, and coming home from school.
 
 O, School house, I remember well how once I stood In awe
 Of your massive, passive countenance, your wide, omnivorous maw.
 An Ogre, you, with appetite for little girls and boys;
 You swallowed us in silence and you spewed us out with noise.
 Your stony stare glared at us as we hastened from or to you,
 But you never smiled, you never frowned in all the years I knew you,
 But we — we shrieked in ecstasy to rid us of your rule,
 And it's oh, to be a child again and coming home from school.
 
 As many hours as Jonah's days within the spacious fish
 The tyrant school house held us, and as much against our wish,
 And the vitals of our liberty had scarce begun to sprout
 Till this new Promethean vulture, all relentless, tore them out.
 Yet, even as a traveler across the scorching sands
 Is all the more rejoiced because he comes to fertile lands,
 So we leaped as from a desert to a garden sweet and cool;
 So it's oh, to be a child again and coming home from school!
 
 Of course, I've not forgotten that the troubles of our youth
 Were as vital in their seeming as our real ones are, in truth,
 But, by our backward vision now, how fruitful was our day!
 And the work we thought was irksome gave us appetite for play.
 And shall our eyes be wiser, when our present day is past?
 Tucked in our turf-trimmed coverlet, shall we behold, at last,
 That Life was all a lessonhouse, which irked us by its rule,
 But we are children once again and coming home from school.
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