Friday, 4 March 2011


In a theatre of green sanitized people
you lay blocked into submission,
screened from the red-soaked gauzes
piled like sandbags round your belly.
‘Is she alive?’ you asked me,
your eyes crushed with disbelief.

Four days later (your milk
still oozy droplets of yellow)
I watched the pain raid your face
as you softly trod the cobblestones
in our street, sunlit puddles
of mud steaming like butter-rich stew.

Driven by moon tides, your baby
(all ribs and thin flesh,
her navel clipped in pink plastic)
lurched blindly to your swollen nipple.
Your eyes, blue as stars
blazed gently on her artless fumbles.

When morning yawned we huddled
like hostages, her tiny breathings
captured beneath soft blankets.
Pillow-propped, you offered her your milk.
I caught the heft of your sigh
as she suckled to the lick of your flow.


  1. Most touching, haunting, intimate moments of wonder between fear, hope and greatest love.

  2. A beautiful & intimate poem that I feel priviledged to have read. It almost felt like I was actually there and intruding on all those jangled raw emotions, all the pain, grief, desperate worry, despair, finally ending in hope and the most deepest love 'blazing gently' on the new birth. Wonderful Peter..

  3. Thank you for your lovely comments Martin. You are right about the mixture of emotions, slipping out of one & into another ... & the love that carries them all.

  4. Hi Lousie ~ thank you too for such wonderful comments. I tried to convey that melange of emotions in the poem & the hope that kicked in when baby finally managed to 'latch' onto the breast. And, of course, when the whole process is wrapped up in love the parent couple have another level of emotions to experience besides those generated by the birth & the newly-born baby.

  5. Beautiful... thank you. From Michele

  6. I can so relate to this beautiful poem of yours Peter. Thank you. It is lovely to read the emotional perspective of the man, the father, the husband. As a woman one is aware of how close death and birth actually are. Every day a child was born from me was the most joyous day in my life, but those days also brought me closest to my immortality.

  7. I read these pieces of yours and it is as if I suddenly understand what poetry is meant to be. I am in awe of how you sculpt language. Another beautiful poem. Thank you.

  8. Completely agree with the comments here; Heidi's resonating with me very much so. Just wondrous!

  9. My pleasure Michele ... thank you.

  10. Thank you for such lovely comments Quirina. I think your point about birth & death is so important. I believe every birth carries the mother to the threshold of her being: a crescendo where life & death brush fingertips. And for every child born there is always the 'death' of the pregnancy to be faced & adjusted to.

  11. Heidi ~ thank you for such a lovely & beautifully worded comment. It thrills me that you enjoyed my poem so much.

  12. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment Helen. I really do appreciate it.

  13. Thanks for sharing this with us Peter, a beautiful ode full of pelting original imagery, I remeber these days fondly, but with a little pang of sadness ;)

  14. I am amazed how your words can bring someone in the moment... as I was there....remembering each and every birth of my 3 babies....there was such grief at the end of the pregnancies...the most joyous times of my life....and yet the joy of new beginings...thank you so much for reminding always..XOXOXO

  15. Thank you for your lovely comment, Shan. Yes, mixed emotions at the time & changing emotions each time we look back.

  16. Hi Bonnie ~ thank you for such wonderful comments. It is, indeed, a time of conflicting emotions as pregnancy ends & a new life begins.