It’s day 27 of Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats which means all of us who’ve taken part in this fantastic poetry challenge have created 27 new poems inspired by Ireland’s greatest poet. Today’s quote is: ‘Once more the storm is howling, and half hid under this cradle-hood and coverlid my child sleeps on.’ W.B. Yeats

Jane’s blog of treasures is:

My poem today is called THE CHILD INSIDE THE MAN


Oh child, sweet child, sleeping so

beneath these big shoes and ties

knotted to a life of change and choice,

but we had to run, had to keep going,

didn’t we have grow up so quickly;

stand up, show up, give up, pay up.

Oh child, sleeping child, so sweet

beneath this bitter battle we must wade

through, the waves come not solely

on the current, not timely like the tides

but in the solitude, in the silence

we thought to be a comfort, I feel you

twist through the dreams you still dream,

that I have lost hold of, that I have let

slip from a grasp now older, less bolder.

But you, dear child, sweetly sleeping

as I make movements meant to be manly,

meaning to be mature, how I hear

your voice, amid the louder, broader,

vulgar tones beyond the preying

playgrounds of concrete corporations

and communal conformity, yours

so soft and gentle amid the riots

and the roars, yours so soothing

amid all that is smothering. I see you

too sometimes, in the mirror, briefly,

a spark of what was once a projection, now

but a reflection; wide eyed

and hearty of hope, I see you, laughing

at my troubles, calling me to come play,

to see the adventure in the danger,

to see the impermanence of these little

interruptions that come a calling.

Oh child, sweet child who painted

pictures to make the grey days

more grand, who penned poems

to let the pain find its place to perish

on the page instead of in the person.

Oh child, sleeping child of my youth,

how much I still have to learn from you.


All words by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph from my first day at school, aged 5.

Audio version available on SoundCloud…

THE CHILD INSIDE THE MAN, day 27 of A Month with Yeats

8 thoughts on “THE CHILD INSIDE THE MAN, day 27 of A Month with Yeats

  1. OK, well, for starters you were too cute for words.

    I like this poem. I like the idea, that the child is still in us, that if we could only access it we would gain so much. When do we stop seeing the adventure in the danger? We end up compressed into adulthood, somehow. Thought provoking poem.

    • 😂😂😂☺️☺️
      Thanks Sarah!
      My child is very much there, but gets pushed aside so much and yet his voice is so calming at times that I fear he needs to be heard much more than I give him time for! Once the childhood teddy is in line of sight, comfort is just a hug away for him though.

  2. I hear your inner child coming through often, Damien. Perhaps that’s part of the joy of writing poetry. 🙂
    Our younger daughter’s teddy bear lives at our house for now to keep him from their dog, but when she comes over, she always goes up to hug him.

  3. ‘not timely like the tides’ I love that image. This is poem we can all relate to, though I envy you feeling still in touch with the child you were. I remember being a child but not always how I felt. Even then, I think there was a certain amount of self-deception and pretending things were better than they were. Not that I had a difficult childhood—just an ordinary one with fights and slanging matches. What a sweet photo too!

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