then comes his damp black head

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


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