Alphabet Days

by Ed Cashman


For Gail Sheerin, Dave Keating and baby Donnacha!


                                  He senses an imperfect garden,

                                  His every cry a cadence in your hearts.

                                  There will be teething nights,

                                  Tummy bugs,

                                  Doctor’s jabs,

                                  But this treasured now


                                  Dioramas of dancing colours

                                  Whoosh what’s that?


                                  Home like a story,

                                  Miracle in a cosy onesie

                                  Multiplies the practice of loving

                                  To fierce obligation,

                                  Sure as the placenames of youth -

                                  Quivering handies

                                  Crescent smile 

                                  Benedictive eyes 

                                  Pirouette the heart

                                  To balletic leap

                                  Proud pandemonium of unveiling 

                                  And who is he like?


                                  Lambency of small hours

                                  Dwelling of daysleep

                                  Nightfeed nuzzle

                                  Mammy, Daddy 

                                  Will change the bum

                                  Hush the hunger tantrum

                                  Cuddle him high to giggling air -

                                  Such loving care strong as his grip.


                                  May you discover anew

                                  The fleecy skies

                                  Flutter and chirp

                                  Through warm summer green

                                  Surging in the gaze of your newborn son,

                                  See him bloom with his dinkies

                                  And favourite bear,

                                  Crawl to wondrousness of things,

                                  Leg of chair,

                                  Slope of door sleeper,

                                  Scamper with a plastered knee

                                  To brightness beyond the curtained pane…


                                  Gail, Dave

                                  This is your work of rearing

                                  No book can teach

                                  In these your alphabet days -

                                  A for activity toy

                                  B for bib

                                  C for carrier

                                  D for Donnacha