Sean Arthur Joyce

To My Unborn Children

There are no words deep enough
to drive home your loss,
no apologies

for not bringing you into the light
though you’ve waited years
without a whisper of complaint.

It’s not that I didn’t want to hold you
and bounce you on my knee
but you see, children,

life is a kind of chaotic ballet
that doesn’t much care what you want.
The rigged game of bogus odds,

the failed, childless marriage
that leaves you ten times more
than just empty –

these are the excuses I use
for not bringing you out of the dark.
I try to convince myself

your mouths were too many to feed
your limbs too weedy and quick
to clothe, but it is a lie.

And I must live on, knowing
the tiny wings of your lives
will never beat the summer air.

continued in col.2

Sean Arthur Joyce is an author of poetry, Canadian history and a novel. He has published two books of history and in 2014 published Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Canada’s Home Children in the West (Hagios Press) on the little-known phenomenon of the 100,000 poor children exported from the UK to work as indentured child labourers on Canadian farms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.