Death and a maiden

About this day two years ago, I posted Judith Wright's poem “Woman to Child.” Pregnant myself, I found it fit for remembering Christ's birth and conjecturing what Mary's meditations on the subject might have been. This Christmas, three more Wright poems seem to me to resonate with the grand and tender mystery of the Incarnation. Here's the first one: “Woman's Song”, which precedes “Woman to Child” in the original sequence. It speaks to that dark and intimate bond a mother has with her unborn child, and the wonder tinged with fear that attends her expectation of birth. All births are both a losing and a finding, a looking forward to life as well as death, but especially this one; especially this day, this sunrise.

O move in me, my darling,
for now the sun must rise;
the sun that will draw open
the lids upon your eyes. 

O wake in me, my darling.
The knife of day is bright
to cut the thread that binds you
within the flesh of night. 

Today I lose and find you
whom yet my blood would keep —
would weave and sing around you
the spells and songs of sleep.  

None but I shall know you
as none but I have known;
yet there's a death and a maiden
who wait for you alone;
so move in me, my darling,
whose debt I cannot pay.
Pain and the dark must claim you,
and passion and the day.