How long?

How long, how long, how long, how long, to sing this song?
— U2, channelling the Psalmist

The music's cruisy     trancy     wordless

The father walks away
from the mother
On the father's hip the baby cries Mamma Mamma
The father walks away
so the mother can do
the workshop
On the father's hip the baby cries Mamma Mamma

Is he old enough already
to learn that his mum
is a person?

Or is he young enough still
to learn that Mother
is not
always
Mother?

Now the music
is American hiphop
Niggaz bitchez
money in yo pocketz

The father comes back
with the baby
The mother is dancing
The music's cruisy again
The baby? Silent

Mamma, Mamma — a moment?
Mamma, Mamma — eternity?
Mamma, Mamma —
how long?

First published in Poetry Matters

What do you think?