On this longest night, gods and goddesses
met to plan our Fates. Virgin mothers
gave birth to their sacred sons today.
Rhiannon’s Pryder. Isis’ Horus. Demeter’s Persephone. Perhaps,
Mary’s Jesus under a comet or conjunction.
Planting a tree for a newborn child.
Both lives require great patience and trust.
There is the concern for its survival,
no matter how much care and attention
we give. No guarantees in this garden.
My poem’s title alludes to both John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden and his inspiration in the Bible’s book of Genesis (Chapter 4, verse 16) with the story of Cain and Abel: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the Land of Nod, on the east of Eden”
is nursing and falling asleep with lullaby,
unperturbed by gun salutes, photographers and press.
Her role today is to remind us
of what matters most, cooing her wisdom
royally on this great stage of fools.
Inspired by reading that Carol Ann Duffy, the British Poet Laureate, refused to write a poem to commemorate the birth of the new royal, Charlotte Elizabeth Diane. (Isn’t that part of the job?) And so a new Spectator Literary Competition was born to write one.