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 www.philipdacey.com