Runner Up poem entry in the 2009 Contest

A Lullaby for Yamini* – By Susan Philip

The Sleep Fairy’s coming my little one,
She’ll stay for a while, my pretty one,
She’ll bring sweet dreams to your jet-bright eyes,
And sing you the loveliest lullabies.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s near,
She’s here.

Her wings ruffle your corkscrew curls,
Fanning them into spirals and swirls; 
Where, she asks, did you get this black,
This dark, deep, rich, velvety black?

God waited till the deepest moment of night
And took a bit of the darkest spot in sight
By dipping His finger in the sky,
I reply.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s here,
She’s here.

Her breath sets your lashes fluttering now,
Her palm smoothes your winged eyebrow;
Where, she asks, did you get this black,
This soft, soothing, downy, black?

God went to the big, glossy raven’s nest
And waited till the bird was at rest,
Then took a tiny feather,
I answer.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s here,
She’s here.

As she caresses your cheek so soft and tender,
You flash your sweet little dimple at her;
Where, she asks, did you find this brown,
This bronzed and burnished shade of brown?

God scoured the woods and the forests deep
For the sweetest honey the bees do keep,
And scooped some in a frond,
I respond.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s here,
She’s here.

She strokes your enchanting bow-shaped lips,
The merest touch with her fingertips;
Where, she asks, did you find this colour,
It looks so pretty, so perfect on her.

God found it in the dreamy, secret part
Of a sun-soaked grape’s garnet heart
One happy day
I say.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s here,
She’s here.

You have all my blessings my pretty one,
As you grow up a woman, my little one.
May the world be your oyster, my pretty one,
And you a precious black pearl, my little one.

May you ever be sweet as warm caramel,
Yet hold the fire of a black opal.
And always be strong, as coffee,
Or ebony.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s here,
She’s here.

The Sleep Fairy’s come, my little one,
She’ll be here a while, my pretty one,
She’s brought sweet dreams for your tight-shut eyes,
She’s singing you the loveliest lullabies.

Sleep, little Yamini, my life, my light,
Sleep, little Yamini, queen of the night,
The Sleep Fairy’s here,
Right here.

*The name Yamini is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘night’.

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