We must send them out to play

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Now much there is need of doing must not be done in haste;
   But slowly and with patience, as a jungle is changed to a town.
      But listen, my brothers, listen; it is not always so:
When a murderer’s hand is lifted to kill, there is no time to waste;
   And the way to change his purpose is first to knock him down
      And teach him the law of kindness after you give him the blow.

The acorn you plant in the morning will not give shade at noon;
   And the thornless cactus must be bred by year on year of toil.
      But listen, my brothers, listen; it is not ever the way,
For the roots of the poison ivy plant you cannot pull too soon;
   If you would better your garden and make the most of your soil,
      Hurry and dig up the evil things and cast them out to-day.

The ancient sin of the nations no law can ever efface;
   We must wait for the mothers of men to grow, and give clean souls to their sons.
      But listen, my brothers, listen - when a child cries out in pain,
We must rise from the banquet board and go, though the host is saying grace;
   We must rise and find the Herod of Greed, who is killing our little ones,
      Nor ever go back to the banquet until the monster is slain.

The strong man waits for justice, with lifted soul and eyes,
   As a sturdy oak will face the storm, and does not break or bow.
      But listen, my brothers, listen; the child is a child for a day;
If a merciless foot treads down each shoot, how can the forest rise?
   We are robbing the race when we rob a child; we must rescue the children NOW;
      We must rescue the little slaves of Greed and send them out to play.

 

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