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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007 04:34 am

People's Poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

Untitled Document My mother wrote this lullaby
for my oldest sister,
on her first Christmas, 1925. I’m repeating it for this year. I’ll send the music on request.

Lovepoem #8

Sleep, little baby, the daylight is fading; Dim yellow stars the dark heavens adorn; Once, long ago, in a Bethlehem manger The little Lord Jesus was born.
Lullaby, lullaby,
sleep, little baby, sleep.
Sleep, little baby, my arms are about thee A circle of love which enfolds thee secure; So Mary cradled the wee baby Jesus,
The little Lord Jesus, so pure.
Lullaby, lullaby,
sleep, little baby, sleep.
Sleep, little baby,
thine eyelids are drooping, Thy warm, tender body relaxing to rest; Jesus thus slept in the arms of sweet Mary, His dear little head on her breast.
Lullaby, lullaby,
sleep, little baby, sleep. Lullaby, lullaby, sleep, little baby, sleep.

© Jacqueline Jackson 2007

Life becomes more complicated every day, and each of us can control only so much of what happens. As for the rest? Poet Thomas R. Smith of Wisconsin offers some practical advice.
It’s like so many other things in life to which you must say no or yes. So you take your car to the new mechanic. Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.
The package left with the disreputable-looking clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit, the envelope passed by dozens of strangers —
all show up at their intended destinations.
The theft that could have happened doesn’t. Wind finally gets where it was going through the snowy trees, and the river, even when frozen, arrives at the right place.
And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.
Poem copyright © 2003 by Thomas R. Smith. Reprinted from Waking before Dawn (Thomas R. Smith, Red Dragonfly Press, 2007). American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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