“While your children are still small”

I’m dreaming of a nineteenth century Finland
Where we skied to school & my lunch was free
Prior to my birth even the birds did know it
I was smaller than a grain of sand inside you

Mother said I wasn’t even thought of then yet
She could feel me stirring inside a tiny bell
Pealing against the walls of her silent womb
Wondering how big I would get or if not when

While your children are still small draw bees
Skate on ice and lead ponies through the snow
Go to sleep each night and dream compulsorily
They say it helps when the sun doesn’t come up

When the good morning kiss you once expected
Has evaporated like autumn mist by eleven am
Your children are no longer small but dwarvish
They remember your name & they call you by it

No more stacks-on of a weekend or at any time
An end to giggles & those silly little jokes
You’ll remember them all when your time comes
When they call with the sponges to bathe you

Though our pyjamas announce themselves glow
Warm as Santa’s sack of rhymes & candy teeth
Remember to cross your hands before sleeping
If you die at night they’ll know you prayed

Recognising a father or mother in your pose
Long-imagined though blurred in the passing
Remember forever your child’s tiny red lips
Listen to what she says before it’s too late

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