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Archive for December, 2006

Boxing Day Baby

Today I’ve been to church and eaten a Christmas dinner of turkey followed by orange, date and fig pudding with my ninety-three year old mother and my younger son, Gavin. Thirty-one years ago I had my Christmas meal in hospital after an ante-natal check revealed that all was not well. Well I guess that the doctors wanted their Christmas meal too, but on Boxing day they decided that my baby, not due until the third week in January, would be better out than in and labour was induced. Unfortunately, after some time, the monitor at my bedside indicated foetal distress and I was whisked off for an emergency caesarean section. My daughter weighed only four pounds and spent her first month in the premature baby unit; I had to leave hospital without her. I didn’t get my first glimpse of her for several days as I was suffering from pneumonia. It is untrue that new born babies can’t see, this one looked as if not only could she see but she looked at me with a look of knowledge and wisdom. I wrote a piece of poetic life writing for a course I have been doing over the last year. If my daughter reads it, I hope she won’t mind the dramatisation of what were actual events.

Happy thirty-first birthday Kamsin!

You were slit from my bloated carcase
soon after your clamour of distress
aborted your father’s poetry reading;
your entrance unseen. Pneumonia

barred me for three whole days.
Why so difficult to breed a girl?
Wheeled in, still hamster cheeked, I
crumbled before your soothsayer’s stare.

When I leave you to sheathe your scrawny limbs,
we creep back in the middle of the night,
terrified that you are not going to make it.
You are leading

a post-puerperal choir, upstaging
Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover

The wound oozes for months, refusing to heal
– your flint eroding my sandstone.

copyright Carole Alexander 2006


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Spaces

Having read my daughter’s poem involving spaces, I thought I would post the one I wrote about three years ago. In fact. all the poems I’ve posted this month have been fairly old. It’s about how I feel after my family have left. It was longer but a tutor, who liked the circularity of what was the first verse. thought less was more.

The spaces in which they move are
empty of their presence leaving
only an intolerable ache where
the spaces in which they move are.

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Christmas Past

Every year, they packed the car
and piled up the kids, dutifully

visiting both sets of parents
until one year – he refused to go

That year they ate goose
with his friends; the ones who banned

Father Christmas. She detested
the goose’s gloomy meat.

The kids refused to speak
to their host’s precocious son.

They would have preferred
pillowcase presents to those under the tree
although they knew as well as he did
that Santa doesn’t exist.

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CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT

Modern men think it’s just a fable:
Guided by a star that first Christmas day
Magi and Shepherds visited a stable.

Herod in anger thumped on the table.
When you find the King come back this way.
Modern men think it’s just a fable.

The sky that night was as black as sable;
One star in the sky shone down where he lay.
Magi and shepherds visited a stable.

When they arrived there was no crown or label;
A child wrapped in rags lay there in the hay.
Modern men think it’s just a fable.

The heavenly host struck up like Babel;
All the assembled had to have their say.
Magi and shepherds visited a stable.

To return to herod the Magi weren’t able;
Along with the shepherds, they knelt to pray.
Modern men think it’s just a fable
that Magi and shepherds visited a stable.

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