I’m watching the new series of “Call the Midwife” on BBC1, a programme which Janet used to enjoy bacuse it is so reminiscent of the time she was a pupil midwife in Camberwell, South London, and then a midwife in the East End. The verisimilitude is remarkable, and the way the writers combine medical accuracy with sheer compassion is quite extraordinary.

I admit that a tear came to my eye as I began to watch the programme, and wanted to call Janet that it was starting. I am coming to terms with my bereveament, and am looking forward to my holiday, cruising up the Amazon, in a few days.

There follow two poems I wrote eight and twelve years ago respectively.

Lost embryo (written in 2010)

So looked for, hoped for, prayed for,

that not yet in existence entity

conceived, yet not yet, 

this concept-child of their dreams,

assisted by gifts of eggs, of sperm, 

sometimes even a womb. 

In vivo to in vitro, to vivo again.

But this life is so fragile,

these fleeting embryos give up 

the struggle for personhood,  

and potential parents grieve

the loss of the child they craved 

but will now not know.

Let the children

(written in 2006, from Mark 10:13-16)

As newborn babes they barely breathe,

need ventilators, drips, and tubes;

so helpless, weak, without defence.

Let little children come to me:

my kingdom comes for such as these.

A baby’s cry seems so intense,

insistent, loud, it never ends

until that baby’s needs are met.

Let little children come to me:

my kingdom comes for such as these.

In simple trust a baby smiles

at those who feed and clothe them, change

their nappies, look with loving gaze.

Let little children come to me:

my kingdom comes for such as these.

Once Jesus lifted up a child

and said to followers then, and now 

(who may have missed the point of faith):

Let little children come to me:

my kingdom comes for such as these.

Peter Campion, 16thApril 2006 


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