Song for an unborn child (I never)


I never

saw you come into the world,

or pee into the midwife's eye,

or have your arse smacked merrily

to bring your first breath on, or cry,

or dry your tears, or hide my own,

or feel protective rage come on

when careless strangers crossed your path

in infancy, in innocence;

I never felt the urge to kill, for you;


..saw if your life was coloured beige

all greyed and dulled and pewter-mugged

all clawed and pocked by pointlessness

all buttoned, coiled and British;


or if its hue was raging red

all mottled by hilarity,

gracious kind loquacity,

all wine and gentle chaos;


..bit my tongue and lip as one

assaulted by your Mother's tongue

when laying out her plans for you

like moving for a better school

or her take on religion;


I never kept you clean and warm,

or had the chance

to keep you safe from harm.  

◄ Alabaster

The Pessimist's Song ►


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Andy N

Thu 9th Jun 2011 22:51

excellent, john.. one of your best yet i think.. really enjoyed it.. A

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Val Cook

Thu 9th Jun 2011 19:46

I liked the pace,the sadness and the anger comes through.I expect many single Dads will relate to this poem John. Good poem.

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Laura Taylor

Thu 9th Jun 2011 10:46

Repeating words here but I also found it beautiful and incredibly moving. I love your use of language in this.

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John Darwin

Thu 9th Jun 2011 06:38

thank you all for your comments and Ray I think you're right.


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Ray Miller

Wed 8th Jun 2011 23:57

It's a lovely poem and I like the 2nd verse very much. But isn't there a change of tense in the opening verse? This seems more apt to me

or dried your tears, or hid my own,
or felt protective rage come on

when careless strangers crossed your path

but it's been a long night and I could be wrong.

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Wed 8th Jun 2011 22:29

Beautiful and deeply moving - I ached with you.

Impossible for me to choose favourite bits - it is all so natural and flowing and very, very human.

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Dave Bradley

Wed 8th Jun 2011 22:03

Powerfully poignant - made more so by the steady pace and skilful use of understatement

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Greg Freeman

Wed 8th Jun 2011 21:28

Beautiful one, this, John. Some fantastic music in it: the stanza concluding "all buttoned, coiled and British" is the one I like the best.

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