For Rachel, a poem
Because of my own handicapped daughter Rachel I have a special interest in people gaining a greater understanding of both those who are disabled and those who care for those with disabilities. The following poem was written by Louise Helps for her friend who gave birth to a severely handicapped baby who died soon after birth. This beautiful poem was given to us before the birth of our own daughter and articulated for us the feelings that a parent feels has for their child while going through this experience.
By Louise Helps
“Would you like a boy or girl?” and I reply
All blushing, body blooming like a rose,
“It doesn’t matter much to me; all I
Want is ten fingers and ten fine strong toes,
A healthy baby with a lusty cry.”
Such strange conditions, idly placed upon
Our love for children born beneath our hearts.
As if we would not love a little one
That’s formed awry, confusion in its parts,
Or treasure legs we know will never run.
Can you not stay, my baby? We’ll repair
Your damaged body, if you will but live.
I fold myself in faith, hide from despair.
Remain awhile- we have so much to give
Each other, so much joy to share.
I mourn each problem but do not forget
The spirit held here by your mortal clay.
I know that all will be restored, and yet
Beg for this sooner- can’t it be today?
And weep for hopes all shattered, dreams unmet.
You’re such a welcome burden, so I cry
To our shared Father, He who understands
And cares for me and loves you more than I
Know how, Your fragile life rests in His hands.
And I? I’ll rear you now… or by and by.
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