For Evelyn b. 13 1.10
Born to good music by strong women,
Ella’s ‘isle of joy’, Nina’s ’it’s a new dawn’ –
how you nestle in your parents’ untrammelled
love, how you suck with unrelenting hunger!
Born into a world of rubble, with children
buried alive, a world of chicanery
and hatreds – you have entered a difficult
place, little Evie, somewhere remarkable,
full of tears and amazing kindnesses!
Born into a world of snow, a fox’s
nocturnal tracks in the white garden
of the tall, Victorian villa, a Blackcap
at the bird feeder, a Redwing sheltering
in the laurel and, away on the Downs,
boys and girls, freed from school, tobogganing
over the fossils and flints on the steep shore
of a palaeolithic sea – how you squirm
with hunger, how you bask in so much love!
Three wishes then for you, little bird:
may you be lucky, may you be gracious,
may you always have someone to love!