`Child Burial' by Paula Meehan

Your coffin looked unreal, fancy as a wedding cake

Your coffin looked unreal, fancy as a wedding cake

I chose your grave clothes with care, your favourite stripey shirt

your blue cotton trousers They smelt of woodsmoke, of October,

your own smell there too. I chose a gansy of handspun wool,


warm and fleecy for you. It is so cold down in the dark.

No light can reach you and teach you the paths of wild birds,

the names of the flowers the fishes, the creatures

Ignorant you must remain of the sun and its work,

my lamb, my calf, my eaglet my cub, my kid, my nestling

my suckling, my colt. I would spin time back, take you again

within my womb, your amniotic lair, and further spin you back

through nine waxing months to the split seeding moment

you chose to be made flesh, word within me.

I'd cancel the love feast the hot night of your making.

I would travel alone to a quiet mossy place,

you would spill from me into the earth drop by bright red drop.

From The Man Who Was Marked By Winter (Gallery Press), now anthologised in A Part Of Ourselves.