Still Born is a collaboration between Valerie Morton and me where we responded to each other’s poems. Here are the first two poems – the one Valerie gave to me and my response. For each pamphlet we sell, £5 will go to Sands, the childbirth and netonatal death charity and can be purchased at Books.
For a Short Time by Valerie Morton
We might have held hands, danced
around each other, toes touching
in the liquid ballroom of a womb.
Thirty years too late I learn of you –
that I needn’t have feared
my shadow or frowned when mother
looked past me at something I couldn’t see
but felt I should.
I’ve sensed your presence many times –
now I know you are the song
on my pillow, the sudden
streak of light that warms my cheek,
the hand I often feel in mine –
and I wonder would you
have chewed your nails the way I do?
Still Born by Karen Dennison
I never got to breathe
even though I was born into air.
My pulse was quiet but you heard,
listened for it in liquid darkness.
The beat of yours lulled me to sleep,
woke me from dreaming.
When I opened my eyes I found you
crying in the shadows, suspended:
so close I never saw you whole.
I touched your face, reached
for your hand, knew we were the same
except for the puzzle of my heart,
its missing piece.