Sunday, January 17, 2010

So nearly beautiful, Michael

So nearly beautiful
by Michael

So nearly beautiful
Seeing the images on the scan
The clock stops, the doctor speaks
And all the beauty is gone

So nearly beautiful
Hugs with midwives and tears
The pain of labour
The first glimpse of our child
Holding our daughter in our arms
Saying the special words, saying goodnight

So nearly beautiful
The drive home from hospital
The sleepless nights, the restless wander
The mother’s milk all ready to feed her
The cards and the flowers
The family and friends visiting

So nearly Beautiful
Planning her special day in church
Walking down the aisle, daughter in hand
Giving her away

So many reminders of what might have been
All was lost with her heartbeat
All so nearly Beautiful
So near
So far


about the poem.
In Michael's words:
 "A few days after my daughter Abigail was stillborn in October 2008, I was overcome by the similarities between the happiest day of my life (the birth of my healthy son) and the saddest (Abigail's stillbirth).  So many things were the same or similar, but instead of bringing joy, they reminded us of what we had lost.  The first draft of this poem was written in about two minutes as all the images lined up on the page.  I then crafted it a bit more for Abigail's funeral where it was read to try to give people a window into our grief.  As Abigail's father, I walked her small white coffin down the aisle - yet one more reminder of what I would hopefully have done years in the future on her wedding day.

"A few structural things are worth pointing out.  First, time stops in the third line and after that the immediacy of the comparative images (a happy versus a sad birth) stretches out over the lifetime that was lost (e.g. to the difference between a funeral and a wedding day years in the future).  Second, there is a sense that Beautiful changes from an adjective describing events at the start of the poem, to a proper noun at the end - Beautiful is a name for my Daughter.  So nearly Beautiful..."

about the poet.
Michael says, "To be honest, I hardly see myself as a poet at all!  This was actually the first ever poem I ever wrote in my life and was very much born out of overwhelming emotions.  That said, poetry has been a very useful way for me to process what I am feeling and open my grief up to others."

After the birth of  their son, Michael and his wife struggled with infertility.  When they finally conceived, they were overjoyed.  At the 20 week scan, they were told there was a problem and there followed the most intense period of their lives.  For thirteen weeks Michael and his wife tracked the ups and downs of their daughter's fight for life.  In October 2008 on the day of a planned c-section, they were told their daughter had died.  She was stillborn two days later.  "We grieve her loss but we also treasure her memory," says Michael, "especially now that we have been told we cannot have more children."  Michael shares his journey at Living in the Rainbow.


  1. Dear Michael.

    I find myself in tears reading your poem. It speaks so closely to my heart. I felt as though it was a poem about my son. The tears with midwives. The pain of labour. The first glimpse. Saying goodnight. Just the whole poem, I saw flashes of my own story.

    I am sorry you will not be able to walk her down the aisle. I'm so sorry.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem.

    I wish for you and your family peace.

    Carly x


    Thank you Angie for this place x

  2. I really, really liked this poem. It is beautiful.

  3. thank you for this. it's lovely.

    also, i love having fathers' voices here.


  4. I'm struggling to find any words that can express how amazing and poignant I found this. Thank you for sharing your voice and your daughter.

  5. Your poem isn't nearly beautiful. It is truly beautiful. What a moving tribute to your daughter.

  6. Just a quick post to thank you all for your encouraging and supporting words. I am glad that this poem has spoken to you. I love that you "get it" and whilst I wish you all had never experienced a similar loss! Since you have, I am glad that these words resonate with you.

    When I wrote this poem I was very raw and the images of loss were all I had. With some time and some perspective I have come to hold on to the "so very beautiful" nature of my daughter Abigail. You might want to read this post which picks up on this point. I wrote this on Abigail's first birthday

    Anyway, thank you for your support. Healing and peace to you all.


    Yes Angie thank you for this site and opportunity to share

  7. i have such tears in my eyes reading this. i too lost my daughter in October of 2008. the circumstances were different, but so many of the "so nearly's" were the same. thank you for sharing this amazing piece.

  8. This piece is so strong, and heart wrenching. What a wonderful tribute.


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