Home from Hospital

Your cot had given you up as dead,

your shoes and little dresses

had given you up as dead, Mary —

two-year-old dancing Mary.

Your dolls and teddy bears

huddled in tears on the shelf,

already in mourning. Even I,

on hearing the words ‘run over’,

betrayed you by thinking you dead.


But the tea tree lashed to the cliff,

the seagulls balancing the winds,

horizons of joy under their elbows,

never gave up. Even the hedgehogs

under the very wheels of cars never

gave up … Mary, your dolls and bears

are dancing, we are all dancing,

the house is again full of light,

because you have come home.


By Alistair Te Ariki Campbell