A long, long time ago, when you were very young
And all the world was unexplored and all our songs unsung
You lay nearby and looked at me - you'd only just begun
The day before had rained so hard. That day you brought the sun.

The day I cried the skies cried too -
The labour ward was grey
And the windows let no daylight in -
That was the crying day.

Your whole, long life ago, you lay and looked at me
And I woke up and your own face was the first thing I could see
And I looked into your blue eyes and saw the love to be
And a nurse came in and drew the blinds and the sun shone in on me.

The day I cried the skies cried too -
The labour ward was grey
And the windows let no daylight in -
That was the crying day.

The short, hard year has passed, and you still wake and play
And the days are long and full of joy and toys in disarray
You run and hide, then come to us, and without words you say
That from your waking to your rest, this is the laughing day.
You have not yet started growing, and already I'm afraid
That when you are new-born, the decisions I have made
Will mean that I can't hold you, or that you're born too soon,
Or that, if ever you're conceived, you'll be hurt in the womb.

I fear the day you're born, my child, and the day I bring you home.
I fear the day I have to care for you all on my own.
I fear the pain of surgery, and that feeding will be sore
And I fear that you won't be quite done, that you'll need a little more.

I know already that you'll come in not quite the best way
And I know that's best for you and me, it's what all the experts say.
It seems unfair - it's not your fault - you never asked for this.
But I want you so, I selfishly intend to take the risk.

I can't explain it. I don't want to. It's not a logic thing.
It's made of things like butterflies and why the oceans sing.
It's a feeling down inside my skin where I keep the feel of rain
And I love you now so much that I could do it all again.
Don't talk to me about babies
I have babies on the brain
I think of nothing but children
I dwell on nothing but pain

Don't talk to me about mothers
I have mothers up to here
I read of nothing but birthing
I write of nothing but fear

Don't talk to me about sharing
I have sharing all down pat
I talk of nothing but bearing
I dream of nothing but that

I would like to explain to my loved ones
That the sympathy cat-flap's one-way.
I have nothing left to give you.
It's set to "In Only" today.
There is a hippie in my head
With wind-chimes in her hair
Who warns "A section means you're weak -
It shows you do not care."
She peers from out her beaded fringe
To mock my "green" credentials;
"It's not enough," she coldly says,
"To honestly like lentils.
You must suffer for your love,
To prove your worth as Mother.
The bath of child-bed blood's the way;
Earth-Mothers know no other."

But I have chosen to accept
That I am not a Goddess
And it is, for me, enough to have
My babies judge my prowess.
I want to give my children all -
The born, the planned, the dreams -
A healthy, strong and loving mum
In ways within my means.
That means I must agree to choose
The uncool "science" route
And learn to bear superior glares
From those with young like fruit.

[Ed. Have had amusing image of babies dropping off like apples from stems, painless and natural - whole orchards full of pregnant woman/baby-trees, and white-coated obs wandering around with trugs and stethoscopes. OK, amusing and grotesque.]
I almost remember a night in hospital
When she was less than five days old
And we sat in the night in the dark on the ward
And looked at each other, and looked at each other, and looked at each other.

I almost remember the morning I woke
The first day I woke as a mother
And saw her eyes in her crib beside my hospital bed
And she looked at me, and looked at me, and looked at me.

I almost remember the day she was born
And the noise and the lights and the crowds
And I almost remember that I first heard her voice
And we looked at her, looked at her, looked at her

And then they took her away.

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pomes

September 2016

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