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