5th Sep 10
and in the shop…
“bowing to winter”
“the now of snow”
A tiny white coffin with its grown-up, silver name-plate;
breasts that leaked and dribbled, unsucked;
an exquisite need crying in every nerve – yet for all this,
nothing could make your heart beat again or put the leaves
back on the November branches or, with the turn of the month,
make the hanging of Christmas holly bearable.
Like sweets in wartime, though, I hoarded
scores of unexpected letters, rationing myself to one a day.
I never knew I had so many weeks of friendship –
I bow to them now; to the surgeon who cried delivering you,
the nurses who took your picture and lifted you into
your father’s arms, he, stooping to gather you;
bow to an ending that preceded a beginning;
to the cold time of not knowing, the barren place of waiting,
bow to winter – and to rare flashes of spring.