Craig Raine in the delivery room
This child emerges slowly
like a raisin from a dead man's mouth,
wailing like a banshee on hot bricks.
The attendants stiffen
like hatstands. Their rubber gloves
stick to their hands like cellophane
on a long-lost lollipop.
The umbilical cord, a twist of pink liquorice,
is snipped by the haberdasher's scissors.
My tears are hailstones
hitting the instrument tray like stray silver bullets.
In the distance, my wife
wraps the baby to her like lambswool
discovered in a forgotten bottom drawer.
This child is still sticky:
it has swum five Channels, fully greased.