THE BABY SITTERS

He’s had his food, his mother says,
And here’s his bottle, in case he wants a drink;
Are you sure you’ll be alright?
We say yes, but what does the baby think?

You watch your charge, half expecting him to grow,
The first violinist of an age-old show,
And ponder on the seven ages of man
Feeling your own adjustment to the longer span.
You know that no one means to be unkind,
It’s just a fact when you have a worn out mind.

Oma has things moving now, and fun is about to start;
There will be play for the next hour and you have a small part.
It’s nose and nose
And tipsy toes;
The baby’s interest is quite as keen as yours
And follows themes from an unknown antiquity,
Where yours has led with all the fads and flaws
His will be a different reality.

And yet, all he is or ever will be
Is picked up like this, in the delivery.
You can’t hurry the process in any way
And it’s not certain how much you can delay;
But leave him to the pace he best can go
As his attention span builds up
And yours begins to slow,
Where generations overlap.

There are things you have just about forgot
That he will carry onwards from his cot.
He is the pushing bud of Spring
The bulb that seeks the sun,
The fledgling taking to the wing
A novice poised to run.

And when he sleeps, then all is still,
Too soon to know the pangs of doubt.
A clock ticks on the window sill,
Measuring times allotment out.

April, 1993