Poetry Friday: “To the Newborn (for Phoebe)”

poetryfridaybutton-fulllI can’t believe a week has already flown by since my new daughter, Phoebe, arrived. It’s been a busy week, too: getting adjusted to having a baby in the house, helping our 3-year-old to become acclimated to the concept (he’s a great little big brother), plus helping my wife as much as possible while she recovers from her C-section.

All this on top of trying to run my voiceover business while prepping for a big, 5-day-gig as the announcer at the local state fair Labor Day weekend.

Oh, and did I mention that on Wednesday I dropped a 6-foot, 8-inch diameter log on my left big toe, splitting the nail in half?  (Yeah, that was a big, fat ouch, let me tell you). So it’s been a crazy, crazy, crazy busy week.

I’ve had the idea for this poem since she was born, by the way – but considering all of the above, I didn’t have time to put it to paper until last night. Normally, I don’t share first drafts, but this is actually a 3rd-draft, and I’m fairly happy with it…although I’m sure I’ll tinker with it again tomorrow, and the next day, and next week, and…well, you know how poets are.

Gotta run…I hear a baby crying! For more poetry, visit today’s Poetry Friday hostess, Betsy, at I Think In Poems!


Phoebe - 1  week
Phoebe Kenna-Rose, on her 1-week birthday. And yes, those cheeks ARE exceedingly pinch-able.

“To the Newborn (for Phoebe)”

Little one,
with eyes wide
to a world
you cannot see,
find comfort in the world
you know:
in your mother’s breasts,
in father’s arms,
in the familiar.

Enjoy the warm sweetness
of milk on your tongue,
smile at dreams only you
can know,
and sleep soundly
as long as you like…

for you, little one,
do not know
this world beyond
your world.
This world that awaits
knows neither
nor sustenance
nor safety.
But it will,
little one,

be yours.

You do not yet realize
this world
you so depend upon
on you.

© 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine


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29 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “To the Newborn (for Phoebe)”

  1. I’ve written some newborn poems when my grandchildren were born, Matt. It’s such a pleasure to read your special words for Phoebe. I love that middle part, “and sleep soundly safely as long as you like…” My hope for Phoebe too, and all the babies! Thank you for sharing!


  2. You said it like it is, Matt. From your beautiful daughter’s pinchable cheeks to that last stanza: “You do not yet realize/this world/you so depend upon/depends/on you.” It’s a heavy burden our children must take on; but for now, yes, let her dwell in that familiar comfort. Congratulations!


  3. Congratulations, Matt! What can I say, but the old cliche–enjoy them while they’re little. My daughter is getting married tomorrow and it’s a bittersweet time for me. Before you know it, you’ll be there, too!


  4. Thank you both! Derek, My folks, who are both about 80, are clearing land for a garage, and all the trees are oaks & maples…just what I need for firewood in the winter. (We got through about 6 cords) So a friend of theirs & I have been cutting everything up and hauling the wood to my house. Unfortunately, as I was attempting to transport this one big log, it rolled the wrong way and landed >Smack!< on my toe. Split the nail right in half. Not fun.


  5. Holy cow, this has been a crazy week! Phoebe was born, we got home and are adjusting, then I drop the log on my foot…and today, we’re driving down the interstate when a deer jumps onto the highway right in front of the guy in front of me! He hits it, it gets flung backwards toward my car, and we nail it – and narrowly avoid driving off the road at 65 mph! Vehicle has probably at least $1000 worth of damage….>sigh<

    I think I'm going to bubble-wrap the entire family for the next few days, just in case.


    1. YIKES!! Kind of reinforces what you said about the world at the end of your poem. Luckily, it is obvious that the world needs YOU and your whole family…so glad it’s just money and a car, not lives!! Definitely go for the bubble wrap!!


  6. margaretsmn

    Congratulations on your beautiful daughter! What a wonderful way to honor her with this poem. I loved hearing your voice read it. Sleep as long as you like…


  7. Congratulations to you and your family, Matt! Beautiful daughter and beautiful poem! I know the feeling of wanting to bubble-wrap everything. I think I might have had a whole year like that once. Best to you —


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