One baby died, and one lives.

When I was browsing works by X.J. Kennedy I found this poem by him that was published in The New Yorker in 1958:

On a Child Who Lived One Minute
by X.J. Kennedy

Into a world where children shriek like suns
sundered from other suns on their arrival,
she stared, and saw the waiting shape of evil,
but could not take its meaning in at once,
so fresh her understanding and so fragile.

Her first breath drew a fragrance from the air
and put it back. However hard her agile
heart danced, however full the surgeon’s satchel
of healing stuff, a blackness tiptoed in her
and snuffed the only candle of her castle.

Oh, let us do away with elegiac
drivel! Who can restore a thing so brittle,
so new in any jingle? Still I marvel
that, making light of mountainloads of logic,
so much could stay a moment in so little.

And in the same week, I read this one on Poem-a-Day:

Another Poem on My Daughter’s Birthday
by Craig Morgan Teicher

There must be soft words
for an evening like this, when the breeze
caresses like gentle fingertips
all over. I don’t know
how not to write darkly and sad.
But it’s two years today since
my little girl was born, cut safely
from the noose.

We meant nothing but hope;
how near death is to that.

Only children, only some children,
get to run free from these snags. She
was born! She lived and she grows
like joy spreading from the syllables

of songs. She reminds me of now
and now and now.
I must learn
to have been so lucky.

4 thoughts on “One baby died, and one lives.

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