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Stillborn
by Leonard Clark


I carried you in hope,
the long nine months of my term,
remembered that close hour when we made you,
often felt you kick and move
as slowly you grew within me,
wondered what you would look like
when your wet head emerged,
girl or boy, and at what glad moment
I should hear your birth cry,
and I welcoming you
with all you needed of warmth and food;
we had a home waiting for you.
After my strong labourings,
sweat cooled on my limbs,
my small cries merging with the summer air,
you came. You did not cry.
You did not breathe.
We had not expected this;
it seems your birth had no meaning,
Or had you rejected us?
They will say that you did not live,
register you as stillborn.
but you lived for me all that time
in the dark chamber of my womb,
and when I think of you now,
perfect in your little death,
I know that for me you are born still;
I shall carry you with me forever,
my child, you were always mine,
you are mine now.
Death and life are the same mysteries.

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