Elegy for An Unborn Child

[This poem was submitted to the Poetry Society for their Summer 2012 Members poems. The theme was the observations of anatomy by Leonardo da Vinci]

Leonardo da Vinci's Observations of Anatomy

Leonardo da Vinci’s Observations of Anatomy

The pain struck like an arrow through her heart
it seared, not in her abdomen, but went
deep into boundless space that was her soul
and crushed the core of her maternity.

Her eyes were opened wide like deep, dark pools
that sucked the great black universe inside.
Intensity and magnitude of thought
reversed her on a journey through her life
to sweetness of the swollen milk-filled breast
and, through the final torment of her birth,
the comfort of her mother’s endometrium,
then lightness of her body… and the dark.

Her Mother, hearing shrill but plaintive cry,
without a blink, moved swiftly to its cause.
Another voice cried out across her skin
that crept with her protective fear and dread.

A rush to help from unexpected source;
a man, they called the Master, but recluse,
had seen the woman clutch at endless wall
and ghosted very quickly to her side.

Mater dolorosa wept her plea
to hold her daughter’s infant in her arms,
to do what would be thought unthinkable.
Averting gaze, he nodded silently.
So tenderly, his eyes spiked with compassion
as he observed the fineness of the down
caressing epidermis. With his hands,
he felt the smoothness of her olive skin.
Observing how dividing muscle ridges
instructed his decision to begin.
His blade he moved with care so not to frighten,
the Master made his exquisite incision.

Through tender loin of human deprivation,
unpeeling skin from fruit of labour lost.
Whilst Mother, crying, held her daughter’s child,
he wrote and drew the image in his mind…

…the infant, sobbing on its tucked up knees,
as if it knew that there was no escape,
from this incarceration, its place of rest…

… In Memoriam L.d.V.

© 2012 John Anstie

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