The Friday Poem on 02/08/21
We chose Kathy Pimlott’s darkly funny poem ‘The Baby in the Wardrobe’ because we love the way it takes an unlikely event and uses it as a point of departure to get wildly surreal. Is the baby real? What does the baby stand for? There are more questions than answers in this poem, but the gorgeous mix of horror and humour make it a splendid ride.
The Baby in the Wardrobe
Do you remember the story of the baby in the wardrobe,
its desiccated body wrapped in newspaper? How the baby
was decades old but the newspaper was last week’s edition?
This is my story. The baby is dead but I bring it fresh news,
re-wrap it in editorials, ads, crosswords with undiminished
tenderness, newsprint smudging my attentive fingertips.
I’m not trying to reanimate the baby with another bomb
or preposterous scandal, I’m just not ready to dispose of it,
though it’s no use, something of a liability if truth be told
and it’s pure fortune there’s no odour, pure fortune.
Another thing about the wardrobe baby is how I was the baby
for a long time, until this body grew, enclosing baby-me.
How did the baby die? Was it stifled, done to death
because it cried and cried? I think it was abandoned
(though not quite, for here its brittle little body is) because
it wasn’t interesting. Some think all babies can be someone,
Jesus or Astaire say, that conviction of grace. But let’s be honest,
all that crying makes it nigh on impossible to get any work done.