Yet another poem about a dying child
- Janet Frame
Poets and parents say he cannot die
so young, so tied to trees and stars.
Their word across his mouth obscures
and cures his murmuring good-bye.
He babbles, they say, of spring flowers,
Who for six months has lain
his flesh at a touch bruised violet,
his face pale, his hate clearer
that milky love that would smooth over
the pebbles of diseased bone.
Pain spangles him like the sun,
He cries and cannot say why.
His blood blossoms like a pear tree.
He does not want to eat or keep
its ugly windfall fruit.
He does not want to spend or share
the engraved penny of light
that birth put in his hand
telling him to hold on tight.
Will parents and poets not understand?
He must sleep, rocking the web of pain
till the kind furred spider will come
with the night-lamp eyes and soft tread
to wrap him warm and carry him home
to a dark place, and eat him.