This poem by Society member Peppy Scott appeared in Folio #74, published in 2020.
‘Hold her dearly in your arms
And do not merely call her “baby”;
Say a name to calm your grief –
This leaflet will explain it clearly.’
(How, I wondered, could she ever need her own name now?)
This child I had failed to gift with life
Here lifted to my hollow heart,
A scrawny, wasted scrap of sorrow,
Never known before we part.
(And where, I wondered, will this little body be abandoned?)
Embarrassment – ‘We’ll see she shares
A coffin prepared for Christian burial –
But we cannot recommend
That you attend a stranger’s funeral.’
(Why, I wondered, would they tell this tale of bland duplicity?)
For that’s the sterile way they spoke,
A still-born story spun for my sake.
I assume she went in a plume of smoke
With the rest of the clinical waste that day.
(And anyway, I wonder, what difference could it make?)