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The Life School

Nixon Waterman's poem is one in which the excitement of a child is expressed about learning to write with ink rather than a pencil. But, if offers wisdom using this analogy about life and about as we grow older we can not erase the mistakes we make. The poem is about realizing that youth is one of the best times in life as when you get older life gets more complicated and full of responsibility.

Also enjoy the poem, A Day-Dream, which is one that will make you smile and for some, will be able to relate to the feeling!


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The Life School
by Nixon Waterman


My little boy came from his school today
With his heart in a flurry of glee.
"Oh, papa! they've taken our pencils away,
And I'm writing with ink!" said he.
And his breast is filled with a manly pride,
For it joys him much to think
He has lain his pencil and slate aside,
And is writing his words with ink.

Oh, innocent child! Could you guess the truth
You would ask of the years to stay
Mid the slate and pencil cares of youth
That a tear will wash away:
For out in the great big world of men
The wrongs we may do or think
Can never be blotted out again.
For we write them all in ink.


Another poem by Nixon Waterman about a boy's thoughts while at school:

A Day-Dream
Poet: Nixon Waterman


John Henry sat on a hard, oak bench in the Big Grove district school;
He was tired of being shut indoors; he was tired of rote and rule;
He was tired of everything dull and slow,
And he sighed to get outdoors and grow.

The old, school clock ticked on, "tick-tock" but so lazily, alas!
That the poor boy sighed to himself and thought
the day would never pass;
And he said, with a tinge of deep disgust,
"I wish that blamed old clock 'u'd bu'st! "

And by and by on the slanting desk he laid his weary head.
And looked outdoors where the apple-trees were blooming white and red;
Out through the window where it seemed
About like Paradise, and dreamed.

He dreamed of the meadows fresh and fair, and he dreamed of the butterflies,
The happy birds, the busy bees, the lovely, deep-blue skies.
And the drowsy songs of babbling brooks;
He dreamed of everything - but books.

He knew that down in the sunny vales the cowslips were in bloom.
And he fancied he could almost smell the bluebells' faint perfume;
And he dreamed he wandered gaily through
The woods where the sweet May-apples grew.

And by and by a robin came and perched upon a tree
Close by the schoolhouse window, where the dreaming boy could see;
And he said, "I'll pretend I've got a gun,"
As boys will often do in fun.

And quite forgetting he sat in school, he aimed his finger straight
At the happy bird that swung outside, not thinking of its fate,
Till the boy whose aim was fixed, cried, "Bang!"
And the loud report through the schoolroom rang,.

The scholars were greatly scared, of course, but the robin flew away,
And the boy who had wandered in a dream got no recess that day;
And the teacher then laid down the rule:
"Bird-shooting not allowed in school."

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