Poetry Wednesday – May 5, 2010

5 May

My very dear friend, Ashley, just gave birth to her second daughter on Monday. Her oldest daughter and Adeline are a mere 15 days apart and have spent many a day together bringing joy to whichever mama might be caring for them at that moment.  Margaret is very special to me and I look forward to this newest little darling being just as dear to our family.

Some time ago Ashley sent me the last stanza of this poem, though I don’t think she knew that it was, indeed, a poem!  A quick search to try to find the author of those lines turned up the rest of this poem.  Upon reading it I was instantly swept back in time and to my sweet Adeline’s room – rocking, rocking my newborn while dishes and bills piled up.  There is often guilt in those moments when thoughts pass through: “I should be doing the laundry, cleaning the bathtub, making dinner, etc.”    My prayer for Ashley (and for all mothers) is that she will cherish all of those quiet moments with her two beautiful girls.  In fact, I pray that she revels in them, floats in them, inhales them, and thrives in them.  Those marathon nursing sessions, sleepless nights spent calming a newborn and/or toddler, and sleepy little ones just wanting to be held will not last forever.  That is both the blessing and pain of motherhood.  Our children grow.

Babies Don’t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

More poetry at Enanoslivo.


7 Responses to “Poetry Wednesday – May 5, 2010”

  1. Anna J May 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Oh I adore this poem! I love how simply lyrical it is, as much modern poetry seems to have lost the loveliness of traditional rhythm. And it’s just delightfully, truthfully sweet. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Molly Sabourin May 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Jennifer, this is just precious! I am totally including this poem in every new baby gift I give. I love it!

  3. Emily Lorelli May 5, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    As my last baby is just recently no longer a baby, this poem made me teary … it is so true. Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Marigold May 6, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    Gorgeous. The rhythm reminds me of all the wonderful, unforgettable nursery rhymes from my childhood… 😀

  5. pam and paul kimmel May 6, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    How true this poem is, even to us older mothers, I love you Jennifer.

  6. kris May 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    This poem never fails to make me a little misty. So true – my baby is two now and is no longer a baby.

  7. Ashley May 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    I’m sitting up at an odd hour, holding Baby Helen in my lap and catching up on the blogging I’ve missed the last couple of weeks. I had no idea there was more to this poem; thank you so much for finding it. As new as my baby is, I look at her sister and and I’m all too aware of how quickly the days pass. Thank you, for bringing me tears of bittersweet happiness, and reminding me what is most important. Bless you.

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