Stairs – Tomas de Faoite


You are coming down the stairs my son.
And I can hear you.
You see the light come from beneath
The kitchen door. You know I’m up.

I’m already there with you in mind.
I want to run out and exceed
All my previous limitations;
To fold you in my arms and sing.

But the time is not this moment.
So come on down the stairs.
Tiptoe to your heart’s desire.
I can hear you coming down.

And there you are saying, Papa,
Ik ben wakker. Ik ben wakker.
A son’s lullaby to his father.


Up you rise to meet my eyes,
Up you rise into attic light,
Into a room now complete
Emptied of unwanted things.
Your cot is by the window,
You are asleep in my dreams.

Your mother’s breasts weep
Whenever you cry, as I weep
Sometimes, in another way.
Outside conditions are arctic-
Like, Siberian winds, hungry
Herons, fish nosing the ice.

Down the narrow stairs
You come in the cradle
Of your mother’s arms,
Into the living room
For the first time, into
The midst of our lives.


They are parked for the night
Up against the settee, Gregor’s
Lorries, cranes and motor cars.
How silent they are, how real too,
Like real lorries parked in a yard
In the morning
They’ll be on the move again
Making long distant journeys
Across the sitting room floor
On into the kitchen
Up the stairs to his room,
And back down again,
Back down for the night
To their parked positions,
Noses against the settee,
Their engines turned off,
Fast asleep, upstairs,
In bed.

First published in GREEN FATHER,
Poezie-uitgeverij WEL

Posted in Blog.

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