I have seen the child in the womb,
neither asking to be born
or not to be born, biding its time
without the knowledge of time,
model for the sulptor who would depict
the tranquility that inheres
before thought, or the purity of thought
without language. Its smile forgave
the anachronism of the nomenclature
that would keep it foetal. Its hand
opened delicately as flowers
in innocency's grave.
Was its part written? I have seen
it waiting breathlessly in the wings
to come forth on to a stage
of soil or concrete, where wings
are a memory only or an aspiration.
by R. S. Thomas
from Mass for Hard Times (1992)
The Hands of Others by James Stockinger
It is in the hands of other people
that supply the needs of our bodies,
both in our infancy and beyond.
For each of us lives in and through
an immense movement
of the hands of other people.
The hands of other people lift us from the womb.
The hands of other people grow the food we eat,
weave the clothes we wear and
build the shelters we inhabit.
the hands of other people give pleasure to our bodies
in moments of passion
and aid and comfort in times of affliction and distress.
It is in and through the hands of other people
that the commonwealth of nature is appropriated
and accommodated to the needs of pleasures
of our seperate, individual lives, and,
at the end,
it is the hands of other people that lower us into the earth.
by James Stockinger