Jessica Tenth of May, we love you, dear.
We love the very day that you were born;
a time of year when you can always hear
birds sing echoes of spring across the lawn.
The time of year that follows, after spring,
when things are warm and fresh, not cold and blue;
when grass is ‘riz’ and birds will always bring
their young upon the wing, we’ll think of you.
A time in life, a time to make a start;
a chapter new, and time that we review
what values we hold nearest to our hearts;
and at this time, our hearts go out to you.
When mother dotes a while, on seeing you,
does father ever wish you’d been a boy?
I think not so, he’d rather eat his shoe
than alter you; it would subdue his joy.
When you had just begun, then, we first saw
how small you were, oh vulnerable one;
how innocent, how free, and very sure
of love that’s yours ’till time and tides are done.
Of family, so many words are spoken;
it gives us the strength when all else fails;
the centre of our universe and hope
to see a time, when common sense prevails.
How cheap are words, unless with purpose written.
Of your undoubted value, what is the truth?
Only that you leave us rather smitten;
the fairy cannot wait for your first tooth.
Remember, sweet and tender child, how you
are treasured by your parents, and that they
are much loved by their mothers, fathers too.
This is all you’ll need to find your way.
Of all the things in life you’ll ever hear,
that you will see and feel and smell and taste;
your love, your loss, with happiness or tear;
only family will save the human race.
Oh Jessica Tenth of May, we love you, dear.
We wish you all the luck you should expect,
but wish you more than just an outsized tier
of life’s lush cake, of things you can dissect.
Oh no, our wish for you is that you’ll find,
within the depths of your own personality,
the strength inside forever to be kind,
generous with your spirit and true to family.
© 2009 John Anstie
(Read the author’s commentary on this poem)