For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,
but let there be that heavy breathing
or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house
and he will wrench himself awake
and make for it on the run – as now, we lie together,
after making love, quiet, touching along the length of our bodies,
familiar touch of the long-married,
and he appears – in his baseball pajamas, it happens,
the neck opening so small
he has to screw them on, which one day may make him wonder
about the mental capacity of baseball players –
and flops down between us and hugs us and snuggles himself to sleep,
his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.

In the half darkness we look at each other
and smile
and touch arms across his little, startling muscled body –
this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground of his making,
sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,
this blessing love gives again into our arms.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Galway Kinnell's poem After Making Love We Hear Footsteps


  1. Aiden says:

    I agree with Cherub’s comment that you have to be a parent to understand this. That said, I think Galway Kinnell’s career boils down to this poem. He existed to write this for all of us who understand. It captures the moment all of us who know what is important aspire to. Beautiful Poem.

  2. Terri says:

    I love this poem. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I am writing an essay on his use of imagery in it. I am married with two young boys and I can not tell you how many times this has happend in our home! Kinnell is a genius at molding an everyday occurence into a sublime moment.

  3. Cherub says:

    I really enjoyed this poem. I read it first in my English 112 class and thought it was really sweet. I think you have to be a parent to understand the poem and see the beauty in it – other wise you might not understand it. I loke how the Child sees the parents “loving and snuggling” and wants to join. And how the parents love each other so much and their son is like the center and proof of their love. It’s just cute 🙂

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