Giving Birth

Now She knows what it feels like
24 hours of it & all for a mere girl
when She had expected a male heir.
Has seen so far only the hands &
they are beautiful—laughs already
like a bear, wrapped as a Della Robbia
infant in glazed porcelain on the cornice
of the Loggia degli Innocenti.

Nobody thought of the bottle
nor told her to put a drop of honey
on her teat as She saw the nurse do
when It sucked voraciously.
He better come if He wants to and see
what’s left of It—will hardly survive
another week—& to find a name for It
is his job. I call It Contrary.

Thus entered the world at loggerheads.

“Giving Birth” is taken from an unpublished letter from Olga Rudge to Ezra Pound (they often referred to each other in the third person in their correspondence) which reports the birth of their as-of-yet unnamed daughter in the South Tyrol in earl July 1925.—Richard Sieburth
Source: Poetry (January 2010)
More Poems by Mary De Rachewiltz