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 will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!
Illustration by Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959)
I came home late from parent-teacher night and the children were meant to be asleep but as usual they were reading in bed and leapt up when they heard the garage door rumble open. They clambered on me and begged to hear what the teachers said. Charly is greatly enthused by her teacher - a charismatic young man who called me "ma'am"...sigh. Ro-Ro is excited to be going to the art gallery to see Masterpieces from Paris this term because he knows I'm terribly envious. Little Wanna wanted a report on what her teacher was wearing and asked if I saw her picture tacked on the wall. Here's to a year of times tables, spelling practice and Home Readers.