Imagine for a moment we were never born…
never carved from the misplaced passion of our parents,
never carried from room to room and gently told
this is that and that is this,
never set down to dry in the sun
after splashing all afternoon in our rubber pool
and dream of driving the car we will never drive,
the hair we will never shave,
the places we will never go,
the thrills we can’t even imagine.
We would have never seen the newsreels
of how they raised the warships from the ice,
those armored giants with hearts of steel and steam
resurrected for some crazy purpose
that made men weep and women scowl.
Your Grandfather’s voice always shook as he told me
how the polar night had been
shattered by the sound of trumpets
when the first of the destroyers broke the surface.
You won’t remember this
but the ships had names like
Orpheus, Akira, Memory Waltz, and Avenger of Death,
names spun like laughter at a funeral
or songs ringing from the radio.
The flowers were cast to the water
and the ships slipped forward,
cutting through lines of latitude
as dull grey knives
through memory, through history, the past,
aimed at an alien shore unseen.
when scarlet bursts
bloomed against the ashen sky,
when the shape of the land met
with the arms of the ocean and became one,
friend and enemy, lover and destroyer,
steel and cannon and slag and smoke,
the same moment your seed took root
and started to become
In the white and blue room
the doctors all grinned
as they pulled you free.
I remember the future, I predict, I see:
the pink wet gloves,
the sweat stained shirts.
I remember, I know:
the faces split by smiles
as they held you high
as your lungs drew their first breath
as the radio crackled with news
of victory at sea, so far away,
so far from home.
Happy Birthday, Little Man.
Poem © Simon Drax