The Nestling
Author: Capricorn


She stooped to scoop
the featherless nestling
that lay breathless
on the hard stone yard
-- fallen from its home of twigs.

Her thoughts flew back
forty years
to the maternity wing.
He arrived
entwined in his lifeline
and still.
They hurried him away
in a well washed blanket.
One brief glimpse
of his shrouded body
aroused grief like a vulture
to feed fiercely inside her.

She cradled the birdís fragile body
in motherly hands,
humming a lullaby
She had not sang to her bird
or cuddled him.
There was no ceremony--
he was buried
with a strangerís corpse,
at an unknown location.

She remembered his empty crib
stored in the attic
with the soft white shawl,
that never swathed his body --
and heard the mother bird squawking
in her empty nest.

Tears were forty years old.

Near the sycamore, where its nest
snuggled into the branches
she dug a grave --
wrapped the frail frame
in a remnant of lint
and placed it in an egg box coffin.
Poppy seeds were scattered in the soil
for remembrance.

When their crimson buds bloom
she gives thanks that humanity
has embraced infant death,
and still yearns to know --

what did her bird look like
and where does he sleep now?

------- Author's Notes -------

This poem is based on someone whose baby was stillborn 40 years ago. At that time hospitals were not very understanding and she was not allowed to see her baby again. There was no funeral but babies were buried with other people's corpses. Thank God times have changed.


Comments on this poem/writing:

RinRin ( -- Tuesday, December 21 2004, 02:20 pm


Wow, Cap...very well put! Your way with words to get across what you want to get across always amazes me :) Great writing!

J Freedom Long ( -- Tuesday, December 21 2004, 05:10 pm

Empathy is Remarkable

Capricorn has written one of the most beautiful poems I've ever read....and your empathy for the nestling and the closure of a still born babe for a heart broken Mother is beautiful and very sensitive...with analogy of Nestling out of its nest tugs at me for all still born creatures Wunderbar...thanks for another stirring one that inspires me to write a poem about the nature of life and death.....mahalo (thanks) Jerry the Scorpio Poet
Terrie* ( -- Tuesday, December 21 2004, 09:45 pm

Cap , DEEP...soooo heart tugging...

so much pain ..but yet so much comfort....yes times indeed have changed.. we only present the baby to the mother at her request, we offer the oportunity to hold them . we also offer the mother a memory box that consists of foot prints, hair clippings and etc.....we also offer this to many of our cancer patients...a sad momento, but to many this is a cherished gift that presented itself even if for a short time..thank you for sharing ythese precious words and thoughts of life lost...that moved on..
Megan ( -- Friday, December 24 2004, 12:33 am

The Nestling by Capricorn

You can really feel the story as you read this poem. It captures so much emotion. It is wonderfully written about such a tragedy.
Capricorn ( -- Monday, December 27 2004, 01:13 am

Hi Rin Rin

Thanks you for your encouragement
Capricorn ( -- Monday, December 27 2004, 01:14 am

Hi Jerry

I'm glad this has been an inspiration to you.
Capricorn ( -- Monday, December 27 2004, 01:17 am

Hi Terrie

Thanks for your comments. It is good to know that these things are offered to mothers these days -- I'm glad times have changed.
Capricorn ( -- Monday, December 27 2004, 01:18 am

Hi Megan

Thanks for your lovely comments
Name:                                           Remember Me

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