For The Sighted Child Who Never Woke Up

Last night I rocked you in my arms,
To the rhythm of the question which I ask with every heartbeat, why?

Did I think silence would answer me,
When I wondered aloud whether it was my fault?

Into the darkness you fell and could not rise,
Covered by a blanket of night without stars,

So do I run after you like a spark,
Or leave you behind without a word?

Crawling under the curtain between worlds,
Passed the water drip of time,

As if I could find within myself, still breathing,
You buried within the hollow hills of grieving.

Unable to defend your small fragile body,
You cry out for shelter, you almost died crying.

I am unable to notice the hands that reach out,
Convinced that, as before, my tears will banish me.

The infant with your perfect eyes and hands,
How can I conceive of you as my beginning?

If I was stronger, perhaps I could recover your memory,
But like an island, uncoordinated, that has lost it’s place within its map,

I wandered off into the mist, directionless,
And lost myself beneath the waves.

What am I doing here,
Convinced I don’t deserve the sunrise I won’t see?

How will I love, accept, and mend
The imperfect pieces left to me?

Again I will water the seeds of our growing,
Despite my anger, in knowing it is most likely too late.

Because I tried to heal
But merely broke apart, revealing

Sleepless dreams I tried to hide,
Someone else’s hope, so long ago denied.

Before giving into my unknowing
Of where, and if at all, I’ll stand,

I return your bright six-month-old smile
That has not yet known the cruelties of the world.

Faced with what I could have, ought to have been,
Our eyes lock and then

I let go, the girl who lived,
In relief, great tides, wash over me.

And so I shout a reckless challenge to the wind,
From a place that has no name, what might become of me I just don’t care,

I stare into the face of death until it blinks,
And I know now we do not die, there is nothing left to fear

For the sight child who never woke up,
I return for who I was, ever safely keep you near.

And now, once more in sunlight, though we did not travel far,
Dear child open your eyes, awaken to all you are.

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4 thoughts on “For The Sighted Child Who Never Woke Up

  1. Is this recent, or an older work, Éilis? I sense a lot going on here. I know its all part of forgiveness, accepting and moving on, I’ve only just started to do that myself, so I understand, but I thought you were so way ahead of me… now I’m not so sure, but then I’ve never been great with poetry, and maybe I’m missing something…

    1. Hi Ali, While the poem is about dealing with something that happened long long ago, I wrote it today. It’s a reflection on experiences I had last night in trying to continue to work through what happened, and as you say, forgive and move on. I’ve found that once I work through something on my journey in life there is always more to learn. More growing, more becoming. It’s not a question of being ahead or behind. We gather experience in living through time and there are times to share and times to learn and whose sharing or learning, it changes. I don’t think you misread the poem at all. 🙂 Despite all I have learned there are things I still struggle with, wouldn’t it be unnatural and strange if that wasn’t the case though? 🙂

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