All the Pretty Children
One million of you there in the beginning,
calling, crying, whispering. I couldn’t hear.
I didn’t know to listen then, swaddled
in infancy. By puberty, hushed away,
rocked in seashells, snug on the lullaby breeze,
only three hundred thousand left still bedded
in ovarian cots. Then, lathered, prinked
by the larking of hormones, three or four hundred
gathered, orderly now, for the monthly harvest,
ripened, rosy pink, small fry ready for the off,
into the dark red darkness, shipwrecked on bloodstained
seas. All the pretty children never shawled or shimmied,
never a sleepless night or wakeful day, never a sock
with a toe peeped through, never a curl cut and stored
in a locket, never a milk tooth to swap for a coin.
Shushed and hush-a-byed, all the pretty children.
Copyright © Lesley Quayle 2015
Lesley Quayle is a folk/blues singer, poet and author currently living in rural Dorset. Her latest poetry collection – Sessions – is published by Indigo Dreams.