"I will lend to you for a while, a bird," God said.
For you to love him while he lives and to mourn for him when he is dead.
Maybe for twenty or forty years, or maybe for two or three.
But will you, 'til I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief,
You'll always have his memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise that he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below I want this bird to learn.
I've looked the whole world over in search of teachers true.
And from the folks that crowd life's land, I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love; nor think the labor vain;
Nor hate me when I come to take my lovely bird again?
I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, thy will be done,
for all the joys this bird will bring, the risk of grief we'll run."
Will you shelter him with tenderness?
Will you love him while you may?
And for the happiness you'll know, forever grateful stay?
But should I call him back much sooner than you've planned;
Please brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
If, by your love, you've managed, my wishes to achieve,
In memory of him you've loved; be thankful; do not grieve.
Cherish every moment of your feathered charge.
He filled your home with songs of joy the time he was alive.
Let not his passing take from you those memories to enjoy.
"I will lend to you, a Bird," God said, and teach you all you have to do.
And when I call him back to heaven, you will know he loved you too.
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