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The Baby

By Kate Haas

NevermoreOnce upon a midnight weepy, as I pondered, O so sleepy?

Over many curious volumes of oft-studied baby lore,

It was Leach–or was it Sears?–on whose pages fell my tears,

O, but naught could quell my fears or lift the burden that I bore.

Would sleep elude me evermore?


Of those authors I was wary in that fateful January,

For I’d scanned each separate page and had discovered no sure cure.

And my weary brain was yearning, my desire for sleep was burning,

Yet how soon would I be learning that I had another chore!

Would it last forevermore?


‘Twas then I heard a wailing–but perhaps my ears were failing,

O, perhaps the babe still slept, safe behind the nursery door!

Curses! No, I’d hoped in vain, he was crying (was it pain?)

And the question in my brain was, would he sleep? (He did before.)

Quoth the baby, “Nevermore.”


“Baby,” said I, “Child of trouble! Why should all our woes be double?

Why should both of us be wakeful on the Night’s Plutonian shore?

If you must awake, well fine, but the night is also mine.

All this nursing makes me whine–go back to sleep now, I implore!”

Quoth the baby, “Nevermore.”


Damn you, William (you too, Martha), sitting round your cozy hearth,

With those eight babes all a-slumber (and you’re no doubt planning more).

Your smug sleep tips leave me cursing (yes, we’ve tried the “father nursing”),

But the night is fast dispersing; O, how long will this endure?

Quoth the baby, “Evermore.”


Then methought I heard a noise–nay, a sweetly speaking Voice,

And it prophesied that soon these midnight troubles would be o’er!

If I heard the voice aright, my babe will someday sleep all night,

O, unspeakable delight! Will I no longer nights deplore

Quoth the baby, “Nevermore.”


“Voice!” I cried, “O Phantom friend! Do you say these nights will end?

Tell me truly, is there hope still for this babe I so adore?”

Then it foretold nights unbroken, when those wails would go unspoken,

When I would not be awoken. “Never, Phantom? Are you sure?”

Quoth the Spirit, “Nevermore.”


And on spoke the ghostly Seer, bidding me to have good cheer,

Yet it warned me of the Fate that for some parents lies in store.

“Someday this babe will yearn for knowledge; he will venture off to college,

And ’tis then you will acknowledge that you miss those nights of yore.

Yes, you’ll miss these hours awake upon the Night’s Plutonian shore.”

“Are you out of your frickenfracken mind?” quoth Mama,


Brain, Child (Spring, 2004)

About the author: Kate Haas publishes Miranda, a zine about motherhood and other adventures ( Her essays have appeared in Nervy Girl magazine and online at Supple and She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two sons.

Art by Penny Van Horn

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This entry was written by Kate Haas

About the author: Kate Haas publishes Miranda, a long-running print zine about motherhood and other adventures. Her writing has appeared in Salon, Brain, Child, Babble, and the Toronto Star. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school English teacher, she is currently an editor of Creative Nonfiction at Literary Mama. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Her website is

Kate Haas

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