a messy letter to my child


i catch glimpses of you
on the high street
in the supermarket
in the park.
each day, i feel the touch
of your pea-sized toes
and the grip of your precious fingers,
beckoning me in longing,
in hope.

to know that someday
i will hold you and tell you
the stories that are
just tears and laughter to me now
makes my useless life
a fairy-tale

you will be
the sole reader
of my greatest story,
and then my greatest story
will be you.

but i hear you,
i see your brimming eyes
and your trembling bottom lip –

why did you have me
if you know our world was soon to end?’

my face fades.
i feel my heart dropping
below my lungs
that burn in the heat
of our aching planet

how can i answer that?
how could i be so selfish,
to let my own desire,
to fulfill those old dreams
and childhood fantasies,
transcribe a death sentence for my child?

oh, i cannot be a mother –
a true mother would not bring forth a child
in the knowledge
that their life would be less than whole

would she?

there is no promise
of safety or future
that i can give you –
they have taken that away
from you, from us.

and yet,
the song of the earth
has not been silenced.
nature’s bell rings out
in its defying decibel,
the words of old
speak louder than the coming flood

does the lioness
refuse to mate
because she knows
that only one
of her three baby cubs
will likely survive infancy?

do penguins
reject some certain instincts
because others dictate
that their tiny chick
will be subject
to the life of hardship
that is written in their blood?

my God,
this is not a conflict
between what constitutes
a good or a bad life,
this is not luck or loss,
survival or suffering –

this is life,
and life in all its fullness.

and if it lies in heaven’s plan,
life will be breathed into you
just as the creator breathed into me
and that life
will be infinitely precious –
no matter its nature,
no matter its length.


22 thoughts on “a messy letter to my child

  1. I had a conversation like this recently with someone!
    You’ve captured it all so beautifully! Really heart wrenching. The truth of it is enough to stop our hearts, but that you put it into words like this…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. this issue is truly a sobering marker for our century. the primitive and the rational mind in dialogue…so very very beautifully wrestled to the core here…to include an understanding of how life experience can potentially morph – and the will to have an *acceptance* of that, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think about this every time I see a pregnant woman, or a toddler tottering behind happy parents. My boy is 17, and can’t believe the inaction of so many politicians… I keep saying sorry… I’m 51 now, and am so grateful to have had him, but if I was 30, I really don’t know what I’d do… I commend your writing & courage so much, thank you xx


  4. Lois, this is a wonderful piece of work. I have the same concerns about having children. I think it is selfish and unfair to bring them into this world and tell them to deal with it. On the other hand, life is beautiful and there is nothing more intense than sharing it with a child. I dont know… I too believe adoption should be something to consider. Thank you for posting this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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