The Book of the Homeless/The Children and the Flag


The little children in my country kiss the American flag.

What of those children over the sea
That are beating about the world's rough ways,
Like the tender blossoms from off a tree
That a sudden gale in Spring betrays?
The children? Oh, let them look for the sign
Of a wave-borne flag, thou land of mine!

On the old gray sea its course it holds,
Life for the famished is in its gift.…
And the children are crowding to kiss its folds,
While the tears of their mothers fall free and swift.—
And what of the flag their lips have pressed?
Oh, guard it for ever—That flag is blest.