Given

Christmas is in the air.
You are given into my hands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.
My trembling is all my prayer.

“Five Days Old” – Francis Webb

Given

Poolside baby showers
herald the summer pregnancies.
Sweat caresses swollen knees;
mothers tally labour hours;
giftwrap is everywhere.
Christmas is in the air.

But by the time you come
first frost has been and gone.
A long walk brings you on.
I howl ten hours, a dumb
animal shocked at pain’s demands.
You are given into my hands:

all downy with the smell
of love, my warm wise frog.
Then: eight months of the black dog.
I crawl back from cold hell
that no one understands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.

Now you seem newly-made
or is it me, new-born?
Chill fog melts in the dawn
and now I am afraid
of how much I can care.
My trembling is all my prayer.

‘Given’ won the 2006 David Campbell Prize for best unpublished poem by an ACT poet. It was also shortlisted for the Rosemary Dobson Prize for best unpublished poem by an Australian poet. It was later published in Swings and Roundabouts (anthology by Random House NZ, May 2008). Lines from ‘Five Days Old’ quoted by permission from HarperCollins.

One thought on “Given

  1. Pingback: Melinda Smith’s Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call | Me fail? I fly!

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