When a child is born
There is no dignity.
The mother has instinct,
All others imagination,
To elevate the occasion.
Oh the pressed cranium
Bursting between thighs
And the pain, the abandon,
Of labour, the physical
Appallingness, the miracle
That this agony is normal and not fatal.
Oh the being that is brought forth
Could only be flesh and perishable
And by virtue of this, cherishable.
Every day children are born in stables,
Under trees and in lavatories,
And in hospitals, in birthing pools,
And on straw mats, in palaces and mud huts.
Wanted or unwanted, loved or unloved.
Then the All-seeing Almighty
Cannot spare to blink
To number them all,
Not missing one,
And every hair of their heads numbered,
The hundreds of thousands
Of births daily.
From here, Brighton, where I am,
To Bangla Desh and Szchuewan,
Two a second or something, each,
After hours of a mother's pain.
If one were - if every second one were - missing
The effect would be the same,
So how is it that each one matters?
It is the universe in a grain of sand
The need to understand
That the meaning of this pulsing burgeoning
Of human fecundity lies
Not in its immensity,
The millions that a week
Of global maternity amounts to,
But in a single babe cherished.
Not, if there are millions and millions,
Not one matters matters, but
If this one matters so much,
Then a million matter
A million times more.
So let us find one,
Look at one child.