The Cloister

SHE is content to live in heaviness,
Maturing the slow change of day and week,
Now her creation alters, and must press
Without a pause marring her shape oblique.
It is her work and business to fulfill
During the time allotted for increase,
Before she bear according to her will
A child to call her own and nurse in peace.
‘Within the cloister blissful of her sides’
The child secluded comes itself to be;
And now it grows in secret where it hides,
But soon enough its mother’s eyes will see.
Incognito, begotten of ecstasy,
In the arching tactile darkness made and moulded;
In the antechamber of mother’s earth and sky
Proposing breath, to native air unfolded.
There prospect is of child that screams and kicks,
A little breathing lump, for her to feed
And cuddle close and praise its pretty tricks
And kiss asleep and come to it at need.
Then she will have her hands full, as it grows,
The art of laughter she being gay will teach,
Count ten little pigs to market on its toes,
Help it to walk, discover knack of speech.
Meanwhile she waits, with her child still to bear,
Calmly at home, straining her duller eyes
To sew the tiny clothes that it will wear,
The tenderest, softest she can well devise.
She looks out at the fields where the blades hang;
Fertile and trim and dark the fields appear,
Them nothing hurts, no intermittent pang
Stabs the serene corn coming into ear;
And watching all the placid fields of corn,
She that was light and quick as nursery rhyme
Accepts content the oppressive child unborn
Weighing always more heavy on her time.
GEORGE ALLEN