Baby Lazarus

When I got home
I went out into the garden
Liking it when the frost bit
My old brown boots
And dug a hole the size of a baby
And buried the clothes
I'd bought anyway, just in case.

A week later I stood at my window
And saw the ground move
And swell the promise of a crop;
That's when she started crying.

I gave her a service then
Sang Ye Banks And Braes
Planted a bush of roses
Read from the Bible, the book of Job
Cursed myself digging a pit for my baby
Sprinkling ash from the grate.

Late that same night
She came in by the window
My baby Lazarus
And suckled at my breast.

by Jackie Kay

Other poems of KAY (20)

Comments (7)

A sad and moving story. A woman afraid to live differently, unfulfilled, escaping to her novels, hoping to give her life a beautiful form, if not content. Wonderful write. Thank you.
Max, I'm open to suggestions! What makes women read on from 'mousey' in her novels, like 'sharp-eyed', but which is visible in her appearance? Actually, she doesn't use her eyes on the bus - but in her writing - wow! She dresses the 'carefully thought-out underplayed chic' way Frenchwomen do...'neat' doesn't carry much weight...gimme the woid, Max!
It drew me in instantly with the promise of its descriptive details about 'her'. I wanted to know more. I was yours. Wasn't disappointed. One caveat, I'm not sure if the word 'together' quite works. It's a hippie colloquialism that should have become so much 'part of the language' by now that one could use it anywhere. But I dunno, I'm not sure it has enough meat to pull its weight. I'm only comfortable saying that because I loved your poem. Any thoughts about it?
Beautifully written. Loved the flow.One of your best.Thank you.
This is the kind of poem that I can only shake my head at and say 'God, I wish I could've written that.
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