This is a poem about what it felt like to be a working father of 4 small children: experiencing them in intense bursts before, between and after work.
The day explodes as Mad Mike Hoare
kicks in the door and stands above my head,
beside the bed, in grinning triumph.
Mummy, I need the toilet; can I have my colouring now?
Will I let the cat in? What is that Fiona’s sat in?
(He’s brought his spearhead group).
It’s breakfast time.
Sit down, stand up, and where’s your cup,
and can I have; please don’t do that,
but feed the cat; Will you stop it! Mind, you’ll drop it!
Are you ready? Leave your Teddy,
Late for work again.
Mmm. Lunch smells good.
Coat off, brain off, open door:
Duncan bit me! Hannah hit me!
I was sick, and do be quick – you’re running late,
I broke a plate, the fridge is bust and now I must
remember, later, buy some coal; did you, will you, fill that hole?
Give me that, I’ll kill the cat, she’s wet the floor
And out the door – late for school again.
Darkness. Home at last.
Lights off, keys out, open door:
Look what I did, falling down I cut my eyelid!
Daddy, what’s a mortal sinner? Not now dear,
just eat your dinner. Nappy! Nappy! Wait ‘til later.
Use your spoon for mashed potato,
Into bathroom, washed and dressed for bed.
And now, each soft and silky head
is quietly laid in perfect dreams of their reality.
While Mum and Dad sit stunned, in peace,
and think of all the hasty words and
half-heard stories, fears, and wonder how, through these few years,
they have remembered who they are
and manage, somehow, to convey their love.