Poetry

The Children’s Hour

Day 8 – Writing for April National Poetry Month
with prompts from NaPoWriMo

Today’s prompt, rewrite a famous poem, giving it our own spin. . .any famous poem will do!

Instead, I offer my favorite childhood poem. My mother was a great story-teller and she quoted this poem from memory! It used to scare us kids to death with images of dungeons and we just knew that the Bishop must have been a dragon for sure. We felt someone was chasing us and we would be left to die in some lonely dungeon, where we would never ever be found, even by a prince. It wasn’t until years later, I finally read the poem as an adult and thought. . . WOW! my mother was telling us how much she loved us!

The Children’s Hour
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations
That is known 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 into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

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

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