The Maternité


Throughout the quiet vigil of the night,
My body, of your body, lay it down,
Wringing itself, in stages, on the white
And strip-lit linen of a foreign town.
I looked up once; your lips were set, your eyes
Steadfast and sad, as though you stood before
A despot’s throne, an army set to rise –
Yet would not bow your head to unjust law.
Here was nobility, yet not the noisy strife
Of those who flaunt heroics through the years,
But constancy, that would not, for your life,
Be bullied from compassion by your fears.
Of all who are to greet him on this earth,
Mother of his mother! we brought him to birth.