Cindy Clayton’s daughter is ten days older than my daughter, and the two girls have been among each other’s very best friends their whole lives. Today is her daughter’s birthday party, and in celebration of the girls’ friendship, and of my long-time friendship with Cindy, who is part of our social group from college, I’m posting here a poem she wrote a long time ago for one of my blog contests.
Cindy is a Houston native who enjoys writing and reading, along with horseback riding, photography, dance, and various crafts. She studied French and English at the University of Houston, during which time she spent two summers studying and teaching in Bourges, France. In the current century, she married a theatre teacher and gave birth to two daughters, who enhance and complicate her life in the most delightful ways. A 22-year career in technical writing and editing has only reinforced her natural tendency to favor the serial comma and use lots of bullet points.
Tennyson Haunts the Nursing Chair
The clock above the door of the dusk-dimmed room
marks the passing heartbeats, minutes I’ll never see again.
I think of the novel lying near my left elbow,
but I know that to reach it
will mean waking her.
So I close my eyes, dismiss the book,
and replay the List of Important Things in my head—
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
I have another child,
waiting elsewhere in our small house.
Her voice, her breath, that long fall of cornsilk hair
are as cherished as this milk-drunk baby
who now takes her rest.
Rest, rest, on mother’s breast.
Twice-blessed, I am, and more than content.
The Important Things may tap their feet
and look daggers my way,
But this most intimate dinner for one
and its sweet aftermath, all snores and sighs,
Leave no room for the outside world
and its mundane details.
There will be time later for All That.
This is the time for only us.
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.