This is a poem I wrote for my sister, about my niece.
"My Niece, September
Today is Hope’s birthday. A pleasing phrase;
One of many which will show up over the years.
‘Can you see Hope?’ ‘Hope makes me smile’
How can hope be gone, or one lose hope
When Hope is in the world? Now we know
What’s in a name. In the darkest corner
Of Pandora’s Box, after the darkest times
There lurked the solution, the happiness-hit.
‘Hope, ta-da!’ as the man said. From the first
That sparky little girl made herself known,
Her personality felt. A birth canal? Don’t be wet.
Coming through the hipbone, that’s a challenge.
And so she entered the world in a manner
Perhaps more complicated (I can use euphemisms:
I’m not her mother) than most, and yet
Utterly characteristic. ‘This is how I do things
And if something seems difficult, that’s the cue
To keep hammering away until crowned
With glorious, hard-won success’. Some Ratcliffe granite
Seaming through the languid Taylorness.
Months earlier, three had become four, and now
Four and a bump became four and a bit, then
Slowly, quickly, wonderfully, five. A person
Grown from scratch, as a dock-leaf for grief-
Not to take it away, but to soothe it, assuage,
And with her newness to make the old less raw.
We laugh with someone discovering laughter
We dress a cut knee with a promise the pain will end.
There is another noun, my beautiful girl,
That folk have turned into a name; like yours
It is a sound to describe something to feel, and you
Possess and exude its name as utterly as your own;
The embodiment, not just of Hope,
But of Joy."