Another one for Sidey’s Weekend Theme:Birth. My friend Norma Chick, a wonderful poet who lives in New Zealand, wrote this when her first grandson was born.And then I thought you might like to hear how I felt when I heard I was going to have a grandchild – so I have posted that one too if you read that far down.

And then there was the word

for León


your arrival

our first grandchild

hopes fulfilled, dream realized

cue for release of all those

apposite waiting words

poetry would write itself.

The reality

was not at all like that

instead one word


took centre place

filled all the space.

Not original

but there it was – manifest

feisty, fighting back

refusing relegation

to the commonplace of cliché.

Senses recognized the rightness

heart knew the truth.

Scarcely an hour from the womb

creamy vernix not yet washed away

you lay tucked at your mother’s side

eyes closed, relaxed

already at home in the world.

Call it message, mystery, marvel,

those are parts only, not the whole.

Miracle has no synonym.

N.C. Aug 2009

Phone Call over the Atlantic

for Fiona

Mom, How are you, are you well

I have something to tell you

It might be unexpected.

What is this voice of hope and trepidation

I have not heard before?

But I hear something

I am joyous, my heart bouncing already

And he says’Wendy’s pregnant’.

And then I am over the moon.

Happy, saying I am over the moon

before I remember he said unexpected

Round me I try to focus on the February day

The phone in my hand

the sofa I’m sitting on

the rain dripping down the Edinburgh window

Trying to stop my joy leaping and flying

So I can listen to what he is saying.

But we are talking together,

Me ‘is it Ok?’ ‘did you mean to?’ is Wendy well?’

Him ‘we’re so happy, didn’t know how you’d take it

Me ‘Well now you know’ and words

spill over the long long miles

joy and laughter leaping

till the ocean disappears

under our torrent of joy.

Oh love for once feeling and saying

the exact right thing together

with my distant son, his Wendy

and that fine beginning

to knowing my first grandchild.

EC written April 2009, but the phone call was in 2000. Now she is TALLER than me!!


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