They ask me why I teach
And I reply, “Where could I find more splendid company?”
There sits a statesman,
Strong, unbiased, wise,
Another later Webster
And there a doctor
Whose quick, steady hand
Can mend a bone or stem the lifeblood’s flow.
A builder sits beside him —
Upward rise the arches of that church he builds wherein
That minister will speak the word of God,
And lead a stumbling soul to touch the Christ.
And all about
A lesser gathering
Of farmers, merchants, teachers,
Who work and vote and build
And plan and pray into a great tomorrow.
And, I say,
“I may not see the church,
Or hear the word,
Or eat the food their hands will grow.
And yet — I may.
And later I may say,
“I knew the lad, and he was strong,
Or weak, or kind, or proud
Or bold or gay.
I knew him once,
But then he was a boy.
They ask my why I teach and I reply,
“Where could I find more splendid company?”