Dónall Dempsey

Veteran Poet - 1,356 Points (15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

Birth Stories(For Linda) - Poem by Dónall Dempsey

Before we knew
anything at all about sex

we knew
all about our birth

Our Mam
would recall & regale us all
(setting the table...peeling spuds...sweeping out the hall)

with the intimate

of all
our births.

“Tell us of US again...Mam...tell of us again! ”

I was small
(2lbs 2 ounces)

hardly anything
at all.

A mere scrap of
human being.

Blathin Ashling
was even smaller

(1 lb something or other)

...a little miracle.

Was it Deirdre
with the cord wrapped
around her neck

fighting both
Life & Death

‘til she was blue
In the face

Or Grainne
with the cord so thin

she was born just in
the nick of time

& the cord(just a hair’s

floats eternally now
(in a glass of formaldehyde still)

for doctors to astonish
& marvel at.

And how
there being no incubators

when I came into being

they had to wrap
me up
in cotton wool

(as if I were a
precious thing)

in order to keep
me warm

but I wasn’t having
any of it

kicking my way
out of the stuff

only for them
to repackage
me again!

And again...& again.

And here(in 1956)
I arrive on the scene

tip toeing out into

with cool coal black
full length sideburns

ready to rock
& roll man

as the labour ward radio

the hit
of the day


It’s almost as if
I can still hear
Doris singing

our whatevers
will bes.

Our birth

each our
first fairy story

& we

the Prince & Princesses
of it

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Poem Submitted: Friday, February 15, 2008

Poem Edited: Monday, May 12, 2008

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