Poetry Happening Near You



New beginnings often start with an end:
the end of an era, the end of a life, the end of a relationship, a season, a job.
The end of the world's 'normal' as we know it.

Yet the earth still spins and on the first day of spring a baby is born
with a sandpaper rough cry into the air, it announces its arrival sounding like its heart is breaking before it's ever loved or lost.
Bonds made deeper in an instant of existence by those who awaited its arrival - loved it as a faceless seedling in its mother's womb.

Eyes open and close - a snapshot into the oceans of personality yet to be discovered.
Perfect fingers unfurl and clench like petunia petals opened by the warmth of spring sunshine,
closing again at night's cold breath, to sleep, revitalise and grow.

2020 was the year of too many endings.
But it was your beginning, your birth.
Three days before lockdown when we were told to 'stay at home, stay safe'.

So we stayed away, admiring your photograph, your precious face,
treasuring your beginning and the beginning of your parents' journey as parents.
The end, I suppose, of their lives as children as a new generation is born.

The beginning of our joy as grandparents as we delight in your safe arrival.
A new beginning: a chance to be part of your life.
Your innocence is blissfully refreshing.
As the world falls around us,
the knowledge of your beginning lightens our hearts.

Mel Wardle Woodend



Mel Wardle Woodend

Mel Woodend

About this poem

Over the past year, Poetry on Loan has been commissioning poets to write poems and make videos of themselves reading them. Normally, at this time of year, we would be starting to get ready to produce our specially-designed (and always rather beautiful) poetry postcards, which are distributed through public libraries in the West Midlands. But this year this isn't such a good idea, given that most libraries are not fully open. Instead, we have commissioned a number of poets to write postcard-length poems on the theme New beginnings, and provide videos to accompany them.

Our ninth poem, by Mel Wardle Woodend, celebrates a new birth. You can see the video here.

Our seventh and eighth poems were by Brenda Read-Brown; the video is here.

Our sixth poem was by Bert Flitcroft; the video is here.

Our fifth poem was by Jeff Phelps; the video is here.

Our fourth poem was by Emma Purshouse; the video is here.

Our third poem was by Cathy Whittaker; the video is here.

Our second poem was by Jane Seabourne, and you can see the video here.

Our first poem, from Steve Pottinger, can be seen here.