i never felt so useless as when “helping” my wife give birth to our three children. however, i am happy that i took in a lot of what was going on and was able to make a half-decent poem that tries to reflect that dynamic time for newly parents…
full speed the fan rattles,
pain pulls and pushes, battles;
your body contorting in spasms,
birth widens both gender chasms.
I’m segregated from your suffering,
my pathetic presence a useless buffering.
two teenage girls soak up sunshine
on rooftops, prams aren’t pined,
just pop tunes and handsome boys,
secret conversations both enjoyed,
wafting to upper windows where I wait,
almost spilling all my emotional freight.
my heart melts like wax; you thrash,
you grimace, exposed teeth gnash,
deeply you sink into a drugged depth
both of us separated by birth’s breadth;
your powerful grip cramps my hand,
this painful passage hard to understand.
you push on the pressure within,
i feel slightly sick – (where’s the bin?)
you scream, my spirit shreds –
then out comes his damp black head,
his tiny torso slithers out quick,
translucent cord then quickly clipped.
my eyes brim grateful with tears,
passed your pain, gone my fears;
now you inspect our baby serenely
he cries out plaintively, so keenly,
observing us, one sceptical open eye;
your milk soon will silence his first cries….
photo: Guy Hemmings