When the Children Have Gone to Bed

When the Children Have Gone to Bed

“When the Children Have Gone to Bed”, watercolor by Carl Larsson, 1894.


The children are finally in bed
and in the lamp’s glow
mama has her mending spread
before her on the table
patching another rend
or sewing on a button
and on the other side of the table
papa leans over his page.
He’s reading to her
and his voice fills the room.
The geraniums on the windowsill
lean in to listen too.
They are bespelled
in the warm night kitchen
while in the dark beyond
the window’s panes
the night gathers in its dark wings
and draws a deep breath
and then settles around the house
to listen too.

The green wainscot stretches its back
the copper spoons rattle contentedly
in their bracket
the bench with its rail back
and the matching chairs at either end
which, just an hour ago, were a train
crossing the continent
now stand at ease,
settling in.

‘Mama,’ says Papa, ‘what’s a
synonym for peace?’

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    • Right? It looks so calm and tranquil. And everything is so beautiful. I’ve been reading up on Larson and his wife was an artist and designer in her own right and designed their home, doing a lot of the furniture and everything. So it’s no wonder, they really did live in a gorgeous painterly world.