The Empty Cradle

The restless image comes to my unquiet mind:
A child’s cradle, the old-fashioned wooden type
Hand-joined in some grandfather’s tool-shed;

Soft eiderdown quilted by a grandmother’s circle;
A cute knitted bonnet with crocheted lace trim
Made by a long-since spinstered Maiden Aunt.
I laugh out loud at such dewy-eyed foolishness
I made my choice long ago not to have children.

And yet.

As the seasons of my life change from Autumn
Into the inevitable Winter, I feel the coming chill;
I ask would a child have brought loving warmth?
Other people and their children – their stories too
Tell me that despite all the trials and tribulations
The warmth of having offspring lights a torch
In the hearts of those fortunate to be so blessed
That can never be extinguished, no matter what.

Could I have raised a child to be loving and kind?
I confess that I have always doubted that I could.

The ghosts of past trauma that haunt my present
Would surely have tripped up my desire to love
Cherish and nurture – I cannot see how it could not
The same ghosts that destroyed my relationships
Have obscured any ambition I might have to parent.

And yet.

The empty cradle that rocks gently back and forth
In the dark annals of my imagination, so clear that
I can hear the nagging creak of the wooden rocker;
Asking the questions that I never want answered.

John Llewellyn James


One thought on “The Empty Cradle”

  1. Attachment. Separation. Rejection. Loss. Regret. Reconciliation. Acceptance. These are the raw materials that are distilled in the elements of poetry ventilated here in – The Empty Cradle – Thoughts of what might of been superbly conveyed in an admirable poem. Bravo! Viva!

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