Treasure Island

sheena blackhall

(18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Three Poems for a Newborn


Newborn (1)
In the scanning room
The gell leaked over your mother's drum-skin belly
Domed like St Paul's Basilica

You were in the frame, screen goddess
You turned your head
And seemed to look right at me

The nurse's voice was clipped
The head is now engaged
As she tidied up her implements

I nodded to your mother, smiling
Lacking the words in her language
To bring her clarity
My Scots like a ploughshare
Heavy and shorn of frills
A voice full of glut and peat
Dreich with glaur and snowscapes

In the ark of her womb
You listened to the Yin and Yang of her vowels
The guttural growl of mine

You float like rice in a paddy field
Between two worlds
A black and white silent movie
A person with the ribcage of a bird


Newborn (2)
Out of your birth wrappers.
Little Yultide gift, you're in danger of being
Loved to death, your mouse-soft hands
Full of creases like rumpled linen
Your unused feet are pupae
Hatching wings in glorious technicolour
Your parents stand like quicksand
Sucking you in, their newest
Perfect creation, come alive
You open your tiny jaws,
Root in the breast for the nipple
Before you are washed
As if you were eggshell porcelain

I look for my son's bones in the turn of your back
Your mother's grace in the arch of your tiny wrist


New Born (3)
Outside the snow hangs on the trees
pointing spears at the earth

Low on the hill, under the toppled tree
A dead fox lies, the pink seal of its mouth
fixed in a grim smile

two rooks like undertakers' hatrs
sit tall and enigmatic staring at the road

into this winter, this locked down season of frost
the old year rests cold on its bier

a pulse of life, like a wren's song through silence
has added another name to the family tree

her selfhood is yet to unwrap,
with the wax and the wane
of many milk white moons

She is one of the certainties of spring
When all the world is ankle deep in snow

Submitted: Sunday, February 10, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Written on the birth of my second granddaughter, who is half Vietnamese

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