Sunday, January 10, 2010


Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby 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 her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For 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.

I recalled this poem today, and decided I'm going to hang it all over my house. Tomorrow Josh heads back to school with a line-up of organic chemistry, genetics, and some-other-science-class-whose-name-has-left-my-memory-at-the-moment. The girls and I will attempt to find some new sort of school rhythm. Oh, and the violins . . . must. practice. violin. The thought of the life I must step back into kind of makes my head spin. But I read this little poem and I feel my eyes tearing up. I most definitely have a "hullabaloo" at the moment (only it's taking place INSIDE). But I KNOW how fast babyhood goes. I've watched it slip my grasp four times over. My messes will be there when I'm ready for them. My baby won't. "So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." (Well, actually, cobwebs and dust are the least of my worries . . . I think there may be a full half a box of cereal scattered amongst the bedrooms upstairs . . .) ;o)


Unknown said...

Thanks for the good cry!! Beautiful poem. BEAUTIFUL baby boy!!! Will remember to pray for you tomorrow as you step back into routine---and vacuum up the spilled cereal. :)

Anna said...

..giggling at your last comment. And oh my goodness what a breathtaking photo! I'm drooling over it, what a perfect little angle on a perfect little sleeping "Roo." ..thanks for the sweet poem, I really love that one. Hope your first week back to real life goes well! I'll be praying. Whew, I'm just glad I'm not the one taking those classes!