Thursday, 11 February 2010

My Sleeping Boy

I stare in wonder at my sleeping boy.
How beautiful he is, like an angel or a portrait in oil.
He has kicked off the covers; long limbs strewn across the duvet.
He cuddles Elmoure, a hairy dog who he cannot sleep without
and who I have to wash in secret because he loves the smell so much.

I step over the paraphernalia of childhood to get to him,
dodging the loose floorboards that might give away my presence.
During the day he is in perpetual motion, a blur of noise and movement.
Time is impossible to freeze so this is my chance to study him; his enviable lashes, his button nose and the top lip that forms a perfect heart.
He looks like me from the nostrils down.

I touch a clammy hand and his fingers twitch.
For a moment I am briefly transported back to the night he was born,
That first moment on our own with only a flimsy curtain to separate us from the rest of the world.
Just me and him as it has always been.
I watched him then as I watch him now.

I marvelled at those fingers, the way they curled around mine like little worms.
Such perfectly formed fingernails, like tiny shells.
I remember the surge of untamed maternal love that told me nothing would ever be the same again.

Now he is too big to sit on my knee and he cringes when I kiss him goodbye at the school gate.
Soon he will be all but lost to me,
My sleeping boy.
I tenderly tuck him in and close the flimsy curtains that separate us from the rest of the world.


  1. Beautifully written, as always. You should post the poem you gave me when Sam was born. x

  2. Thanks Beth. I don't have Sam's poem on my hard drive anymore (it's on one of those ancient floppy discs!) but I did write a slightly different version for Junior which hangs on his bedroom wall. Maybe I'll put that one up. X