Sylvia Fairley: Racing Demons

They’re under starters’ orders as
    the pushchair race begins,
the bets are on, and now ‘they’re off!’
    the fastest baby wins.
 
The lead is quickly taken by
    Beelzebub in pampers;
 yes, Noisy Nigel, terror of
    the pre-school nursery campus.
 
A challenge from the inside lane,
    the gap is getting wider,
the colours on her baby-gro,
   announce a rank outsider.
 
Though not for long, for from behind   
    the lead is snatched with squeals,
the bit between his new milk teeth,
    a Usain Bolt on wheels.
 
But all too soon he’s pulling back,
    relinquishing the lead,
he’s proved that he has bottle, but
   he’s missed his morning feed.
 
The rest are zooming past the post
    sustained by puréed dinners;
with booster cheers for every one
    we welcome home the winners.
 
We’ve tested them for substances,
     ruled out rose-hip abusers,
awarded rattles for the best
   and dummies for the losers.
 
And while they have their mid-day nap
     exhausted by the chase,
We’re off to have a flutter on
     the mums’ three-legged race!