For Margo’s Tuesday Tryouts she asked for a poem about a routine, and possibly a form to match the subject matter. My family thrives on routine, and we all get pretty out-of-sorts when it is disturbed. Especially our nights. This might be a little overdone on the ‘form’ aspect, but covers the routine fairly well. Also posted at Poets United and the dVerse Pub.


The energy of the day is spent,
we settle into our nightly routine.


There is an infant,
restless and fighting sleep,
waiting to be held and rocked.

The energy of the day is spent,
we settle into our nightly routine.


There is a toddler,
wide-eyed in their bed,
expecting a song in baritone voice.

The energy of the day is spent,
we settle into our nightly routine.


Nightmares have visited
a little girl, pull back the covers
to let her climb in to fall asleep again.

The energy of the day is spent,
we settle into our nightly routine.


There are no cries in the night,
the boy is too big to be held close,
the little girl is beyond the comforting age.

But he — almost as big as me —
still hugs me each night, and she — growing
so fast — still kisses my cheek during our nightly routine.


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

25 responses to “Routine

  1. Oh how I do miss the hugs and kisses of children as they head to bed. You’ve brought back such lovely memories. Thanks, Mark.

  2. Ah – this is beautiful! And it’s certainly not over done, it reminds me so much of my own childhood, from the nightmare stage to teenage. And I can remember my mother telling me how my dad used to walk the floor, patting my elder brother on the back and humming tunes, just to get him back to sleep, and I laughed because it didn’t sound like the same dad that I knew, I couldn’t believe he had the patience for all of that! You’ve certainly hit an emotional spot in my mind anyway!
    Suzy 😀

  3. This will tug at your heart strings. Beautiful words.

  4. Oh, Mark, I love it. Your refrain is one of those rare ones that does not pall with repetition and the structure using ‘except’ works as a frame. You did well. Now, I am going to read for the fifth time because I love it.

  5. A wonderful glimpse into your comforting routine…we have ours, too. Wait till you get to be my age and start “tucking” in the dogs!

  6. jasmine calyx

    Boy do I know that “Except” well. I see exactly what you did here, making your kids grow up through the poem. But I have a whole bunch of kids, so for me, all of this happens every night. And no one’s growing up. 😉 They are, but sometimes it seems sort of slow. Not with the first, but when you have a lot of them.

  7. This was cause for a moist eye, Mark!! Very well done and I like the form you devised for this. Affecting. 🙂

  8. Aww I don’t want my babies to get big!!!! Lovely write.

  9. This is cute. Those are nightly routines you hope will never end.

  10. Visiting from Poetry Pantry…. This is such a touching poem. Love the routines you described. I think a person can do with a little less sleep if one has that kind of love in one’s life. Well expressed…

  11. Oh, how precious those small child days were….how we miss them when they’re past – but it is lovely that you still get good night hugs and kisses from your now-tall children.

  12. I love how you did this, traveling from the babies to the more grown-up children… very touching…

  13. aelfbee

    You had me thinking it was time to toss the routine, but I was wrong. Some routines are keepers.

  14. haha there is always an except…we try with routine…we really do…actually we were just talking last night on needing to switch it up a bit for our older one…

  15. The repeated refrain enhances greatly the sense of exhausted attendance on fretful kids. Close to home, this!

  16. stuartmcphersonpoet

    i love the last two stanzas mark….kids grow up but they never stop loving.

  17. Life does get in the way of routine….and what blessings that those hugs and kisses continue….lovely heartfelt piece.

  18. I am all about routine. Especially at night. Things do often interrupt them though.

    Nicely done!

  19. smiles…ha…when they grow older, they may keep you awake for other reasons…smiles… a good routine in the evening surely helps them to sleep better, a lullaby sung by a baritone voice sounds not bad at all

  20. This is lovely; they still need you – and they always will – just in different ways as they grow.

  21. Precious telling of times rapid passing. Raising kids and recollecting on that experience offers much fodder for consideration and appreciation, yes?

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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