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. School photo aged possibly 5.
From the series A Month With Yeats