Monday, November 29, 2010


People with babies who sleep through the night need to shut the fuck up about it lest someone stab them in the eye with a fork.

That's all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument

The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument

The spirit is too blunt an instrument
to have made this baby.
Nothing so unskilful as human passions
could have managed the intricate
exacting particulars: the tiny
blind bones with their manipulating tendons,
the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient
fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae,
the chain of the difficult spine.

Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent
fingernails, the shell-like complexity
of the ear, with its firm involutions
concentric in miniature to minute
ossicles. Imagine the
infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections
of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments
through which the completed body
already answers to the brain.

Then name any passion or sentiment
possessed of the simplest accuracy.
No, no desire or affection could have done
with practice what habit
has done perfectly, indifferently,
through the body's ignorant precision.
It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent
love and despair and anxiety
and their pain.

by Anne Stevenson

Anne Stevenson, "The Spirit is Too Blunt an Instrument" from Poems 1955-2005.

* Ella and Amelia, 8 days old

Monday, November 22, 2010

a time, a tribe, a war

Poem for a Daughter

"I think I'm going to have it,"
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
"Dear, you never have it, we deliver it."
A judgment years proved true.
Certainly I've never had you
as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart's needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom's end. Yet nothing's more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their sphere together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman's life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.

From Anne Stevenson
Poems 1955 - 2005
©2005 Bloodaxe Books

*Ella, 5 days old. By Nye.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Ella and Amelia.

Born on November 5th, in the early hours of the morning.
Thank you all so much for your messages and emails and tweets and presents, you're wonderful. I'll be back again in 6-8 months. Maybe a year.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Reclaiming names, cont.

There are some names you just can't reclaim.


These all appear on the list of forenames given in Scotland last year. Some of them more than once.

Although.... I'm thinking there are some great twin pairings there - Chanel & Chardonnay has a certain ring to it. And Mercedes & Lexus would make quite the duo.

There are some amazing names on there too, Iteoluwakishi for one. And Oluwafioyonsolami. Maybe I'll suggest them to N.

And then there's my personal favourite, Heavenleigh. You know, like Heavenly, but with LEIGH on the end! Genius.

I really feel for Laiba though. Actually, I feel for all ten Laibas. They're going to have a world of fun when they reach high school Biology class.

A friend of my uncle's worked in Glasgow circa 1995. She was a GP. There were five Pocahontas' (Pocahonti?) on her books.
I heart Scotland.