"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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