Labour Ward

by V.E. Thomas

Give us this day our daily miracle.
Exchange our offering of sweat and tears
And, most of all, of blood,
For new life, crumpled as a new leaf bud.
A child is like a pearl, made of pain.
And, as we sweat the spiral through again,
There’s something holy in this moment now.
The mingled prayers and blasphemies, ‘I can’t I can’t’
Become I can, because I must, because
All life pares down into this single point
The baby. And here at last she comes -
High perfect cry, eyes closed against the light,
Triumphant, exulting. I wash my hands and leave.
They need me for the miracle next door.