Philip Dacey


Toora Loora


                                              for Fay


Pregnant, she practices singing lullabies.

The baby will be doubly held, by arms and tone

of voice, its rise and fall, as childhood flies.


A first-time mother determined to memorize

dozens of lyrics, she waits till she's alone

in the house before she practices lullabies,


the house a womb to sing in, where she lies

back as if afloat and tries out, "Day Is Done,"

her voice softening, for childhood too quickly flies.


She imagines looking down and into eyes

new to the world—so new they sing their own

song of hello—as she practices lullabies.


Can there be a better musical enterprise?

Are hers not the sounds all music's built on,

the mother lode?  She thinks how childhood flies,


then readies her voice to quiet a baby's cries.

Ever since she first dreamed of her child she's known

she'd make a practice of singing lullabies

to slow the passage of their days.  Childhood flies.

Philip Dacey's latest of eleven books is Mosquito Operas: New and Selected Short Poems (Rain Mountain Press, 2010).  The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, two NEA grants, and a Fulbright to Yugoslavia, he has written entire collections of poems about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City.  More information about him appears at



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