Friday, January 7, 2011

Ode to Fatherhood

As we fast approach the short one’s second birthday, it gives reason to pause and consider all that has transpired since her arrival.  

I think the most amazing transformation throughout that time is seeing someone so dear to my heart become the most loving father ever…a true gift in anyone's eyes.

It reminded me of a poem that I have treasured since my own childhood.  A poem that to this day still evokes amazing feelings of tears and joy.  You can’t help but sense the love emerge from every verse.  Written in 1860 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, it describes his undying love for his own three daughters…

The Children's Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupation,
That is know as the children's hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes,
They are plotting and planning together,
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me,
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
And will not let you depart,
But put you down in the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

Alice, Edith and Annie Allegra
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's daughters


  1. This poem goes out to my dear friend whose dad is facing one of those cruel challenges that life throws us.

  2. It is a beautiful poem Meredith. Thank you for sharing it.