National Poetry Day 2015 & Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Today is National Poetry Day here in the UK. The theme this year is ‘light’ to mark the UN International Year of Light 2015. October is also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with a special remembrance day on October the 15th, where people all over the world are encouraged to light a candle at 7pm to create a Wave of Light across the world. Pregnancy and Infant Loss is not something I have had to cope with personally and I count my blessings that I have not had this grief to deal with. However, I do have family members and friends who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss. It seemed appropriate to combine the National Poetry Day theme of light with the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month ‘Wave of Light’. I found this hauntingly beautiful poem by Victorian poet William Barnes and I’d like to dedicate it to anyone who has experienced losing a child, whether in pregnancy or post-birth.

The Mother’s Dream (Mater Dolorosa)

I’d a dream tonight

As I fell asleep

Oh! the touching sight

Makes me still to weep:

Of my little lad,

Gone to leave me sad,

Aye, the child I had.

But was not to keep.

As in heaven high,

I my child did seek,

There, in train, came by

Children fair and meek.

Each in lily white,

With a lamp alight;

Each was clear to sight,

But they did not speak.

Then, a little sad,

Came my child in turn,

But the lamp he had,

Oh! it did not burn;

He, to clear my doubt,

Said, half turned about,

‘Your tears put it out;

Mother, never mourn.’

Sometimes I tie myself up in knots trying to think of the right thing to say to someone suffering a grief that I have not experienced. Everything I think of sounds trite or patronising. I hope this blog post doesn’t come across as such. I hope people don’t read it and think, ‘How dare she write about pregnancy and infant loss when she hasn’t experienced the awfulness of it herself?’

Those thinking that would be justified. I can’t write about it from a personal view, but I can stand in awe of all those who have gone through it and yet continue to get up and carry on with each new morning; finding and grasping at those things in life that keep them going, whether that is other children, partners or a fulfilling career. And I’d like to ask them all to keep sharing and be proud of their little ones that didn’t make it, so that they aren’t forgotten.

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It is a beautiful day today and I had to stop to take some photos after I’d dropped the children off at school and preschool of the light bathing the countryside, particularly some Rowan trees that I pass every day. Their bright red berries together with their new autumn colours is just so striking. Nature has her own vivid colour palette. No artificial colours here!

National Poetry Day crept up on me somewhat, so I’ve hurriedly written a few lines about the cheerful Rowan:

Rowan Tree

Berry bright,

Leaves alight.

The blazing rowan,

Vivid against a blue

Indian summer sky,

Like a daubing paintbrush,

Splashing her colour here and there.

Gaudy and cheerful.

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