Baby, Baby Poetry Prompt: The Short Years

In the book, The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin accurately summarized the epoch of child-rearing with a few simple words:

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

Poetry Prompt:

Write a poem for the exhausted new parent. Reflect on the fleeting season of childhood.


Thanks to all who participated in last week’s prompt. Here’s a poem from Richard we enjoyed— flecked in the lament of time.

As children, it was real to us,
the timing, length and hue.

Once discovered we forgot to notice
the changing shape
going out ahead of us,
as if to say—arms around each other—
we are three.

Over time it was only shade,
cloudy days and ruined picnics,
a slice across a silver moon.

It was the dark mirror
that confirmed us,
even as we forgot to look
along the avenues,
living under a borrowed sun;

perhaps when we are also grey.

Tonight we say there is work to do,
or a rough day to mend―

through the window, the empty moon
lays the ineffectual sunlight

into this room of candles,
where I write alone.

My hand reaches for a glass
and below a darkness
on the table cowers close,
as if it were afraid.

—by Richard Maxson

Featured photo by Scott Hamilton, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Heather Eure.


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  1. says

    Breathe her in, savor
    these newborn days as fleeting
    as the baby’s breath
    the flower is named for.
    Carry her skin
    to skin.
    And don’t blink, they say.
    True, but napping
    is okay.

  2. says


    Outside, the Maple seeds turn as they fall,
    turn in complex spirals from their branches.

    Baby sleeps as I rock, as the Maple sways,
    the indifferent breezes shaking loose its twirling birds.

    I have been you, wrapped warm near a forgotten pane,
    seasons rushing, now it seems, through dresses, shoes,

    hats and gloves, the leaves rolling behind my eyes,
    over the Fall lawn, then buried beneath the faultless snow.

    When evening comes, the stars conspire to bring you dreams
    of dust and light, the brilliance of what we do not see.

    There will be a morning when you rise and find a road away
    from me; my love left pressed like Maple leaves in a book.

    Years will pass like reminder notes I write to keep you
    in my heart; the years turn in orbits far and near. For now

    I have you by this window, asleep, reaching for my cheek, your hand
    like the small fingers of the rain, in the impossible arms of the wind.

  3. Marcy says

    It’s a boy, it’s a boy,
    Haven’t a clue what to do.
    Every time I turn my back
    He’s in to something new.
    He’s two and I found him,
    He had climbed the ladder
    To the top,
    There he stood
    On the top.
    Of the garage,
    My heart flew to my chest.
    Sit down son, please sit down,
    As he did he grabbed the
    Bucket of red paint.
    Turned it upside down
    Upon his head.
    He’s a boy, He’s a boy,
    You’ll make it
    We did.
    Just be calm, just be calm.
    It’s just a boy.
    That’s all I said.


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