At Midnight

The clock has struck midnight and all is quiet in our neck of the woods.

atmidnight pin1But there was a time, a few years back, a certain small girl (she knows who she is) thought midnight was not a time for sleeping, but singing.

It’s actually more like a quarter of a century back, and now there’s another certain small girl who prefers singing to sleeping.

I wrote a poem about the first small girl back then, but then left it sleeping in a file. . . until last year, when I woke it up, gave it a wash and brush-up, and sent it out into the world, a.k.a Mayhem Literary journal, to sing.

Poems are like photographs – they can capture a moment in time as vividly as any picture.

What moments in your children’s lives are poem material?


At Midnight

You sing like a bird
who never heard of the sun
going down – gulp a breath
in the middle of a word,
so air flows sharp in your throat
and the next note is too high
or too low.

This is what serenades me to bed:
your midnight solo.

In a moonlit wedge of open door,
I see you perched on the edge
of your bunk, a fledgling
on a wooden fence, singing songs
that were old when I was young.
You know every word.

I creep to bed. I haven’t the heart
to tell you be quiet, go to sleep.
I hear when you lie down –
your voice shivers, slides into silence.

In the space of a yawn,
you are asleep again
and I am left listening to the way
the air around you breathes.

atmidnight pin2


34 thoughts on “At Midnight

  1. Hi Trish, you might like my story – 1940’s dad was away in R.A.F. (U.K) When he came home, he like listening to the radio listening to Opera music, mum and me had to sit still and be quiet. This way I learned by absorbing a lot of music. I would get my own back on dad, when they sent me to bed I would lay and sing the Opera I had just heard. Though the open window my singing floated into the street, passers-by would shout up to me “For God’s sake shut up and go to sleep”. I would be about 8 -9 years old. My favourites were Carmen and Tosca.
    Marjorie Lacy.

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  2. Familiar experiences around midnight, but not with a blackbird. Beautifully expressed night interruption – will give future events a more positive, peaceful aura.

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  3. Trish, your poetry makes my heart so happy. What a beautiful story it tells.

    My son is a jokester and cannot seem to sit still or quiet himself in class lately which means I’ve been getting a few phone calls from teachers this past week. Although we have had some extensive “serious” talks with the kid, I can’t help but laugh and think how much like me he is. So needless to say, this development has given me some new writing material! Kids sure have a way of lifting the writers block!

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    1. Thank you, Lindsay. Yep, kids are great inspiration for writing – always some material there!


  4. I studied English literature at university and have been a big fan of poetry. It is not easy. You have to go deep and be introspective and come out with words that will move humans. An amazing poem and love the birds.
    jerry godinho

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  5. I have a little bird myself who likes to sing at night. She thinks no one is listening but we all are and we love it. Glad to see you’re writing again. Good luck with Mayhem.

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  6. I love this poem. Honestly, it makes me think about my niece when I am over babysitting and like you in the poem, I don’t have the heart to tell her to stop singing. Instead, I enjoy listening to it, remembering that she’s only going to be this young for such a short period of time…

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