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Useful Yet

From the Rock Island Argus, January 26, 1914. By Henry Howland.

My little boy has learned a lot since first he started off to school;
Much that I long ago forgot he has but lately learned by rule.
I once knew how to parse, but now the knack has somehow gone from me;
He fairly chews the grammar up; he knows the whole thing to a T.
Sometimes he is inclined, I fear, to look upon me with disdain,
But I still come in handy here—I earn the pleasures that we gain.

I cannot name the boundaries of Burma or Beloochistan;
He does it with the greatest ease, and proudly shows me that he can;
He works out problems that I shun, although I could have solved them once,
Sometimes I more than half suspect that he regards me as a dunce.
Perhaps I might go back and learn if I had fewer daily cares,
But, after all, ’tis I that earns the food he eats, the clothes he wears.

My little boy is learning fast, while I forget, year after year.
The records of the misty past, to me so vague, to him are clear.
He writes a better hand than I, his letters are more plainly made;
He spells words that I cannot spell without the dictionary’s aid.
He is inclined, sometimes I fear, to think my boyhood was misspent;
But I still come in handy here; I foot the bills and pay the rent.

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