Why Does The Baby Cry?

All the 21st century technological safety mechanisms in the world aren't baby's natural habitat... that alone is skin to skin on Momma's chest. Sharing her breath. Taking in her scent. Soothed by her heartbeat. Eating her nourishment. It truly is a perfect design.


Why does the baby cry?
(Dressed in his brand-new, powder blue, flame-retardant pajamas)
Why does the baby cry?
(Freshly laundered, recently fed, newly changed, just burped, and provided with a night-light)
Why does the baby cry?
(In his safety-sealed crib
All smoke detectors in working order
Temperature medically adjusted by thermostat
Baby monitor on
Emergency numbers in the speed-dial
Loving parents at the ready)
Why, oh WHY does the baby cry?

The baby cries
In the jungle or on the savannah
The baby cries
As the marauding beasts edge forward
The baby cries
For protection
The baby cries
To signal his tribe
The baby cries
(Hearing no heartbeat
Touching no warm skin
Mouthing no soft breast
Breathing no shared breath)
The baby cries
Alone in the wilderness

~ Elsa Haas

Elsa Haas won the opportunity to perform the show "Wearing My Baby: A Stone Age Mommy on Staten Island" and a $1000 grant for this poem and others that she submitted to a local literary competition. The baby- and child-friendly show will be held at the St. George Theater on Staten Island on June 14. For information, you can email Elsa at ElsaHaas@si.rr.com.



  1. Very nice, and the photo is beautiful too!

  2. this is wonderful!! Love it! I am a cultural anthropologist and have been spouting things like this off to everyone I meet for forever. :-) Perfect.

  3. What a wonderful poem! I love the picture, too!!! So, wish I lived in the area. I'd love to see the performance.

  4. So lovely, and this is why I have happy babies! They know my skin, and my breath and my touch. They are not left alone, and when they cry, I am there.



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