Answering Our Babies’ Cries

A crying baby

The first time I recall hearing
a baby cry was my brother Billy’s.
I was three and a half.
He was a miracle.
I thought it a loud, odd sound,
as natural as Grandpas’s wheezing snore.
There’d be three more crying babies
in my childhood, each with its own
timbre and nuance, a siren call
for mother’s warmth, attention
to some other want or both.
As the oldest, I learned to provide
one or the other, but not both.
When our babies were born,
my reaction was much the same, except
now I’d bring my all, lightning-like,
to their language-less calls.

A man can learn almost all
the child’s Mother tongue, with its
own glossary and grammar, its single
flagstaff punctuation mark, with a gasp
for a comma. As I’ve grown older,
other babies’ cries became muffled,
yet annoying and more easily ignored.
Then along came my granddaughter,
who echoed the lilting lever that’d
pry me from my rest to assuage
her difficulties as her mother’s had.
But her cries didn’t disturb
my sleep like her mom’s. But
the crying of those starving or
gassed babies on the news did.
I still understand their message…
in any language.

Day 6’s NaPoWriMo poem combines the two prompt sources from yesterday. One for a poem about a sound, the other a poem looking at its subject from different points of view. I’m no Wallace Stevens with multiple POV poetry, but I’ve heard babies’ cries from every angle and level of auditory ability and each one affects me differently.

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