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The strangest birth of all



There’s nothing quite as strange on Earth,

And nothing really more unknown,

Than what we tamely call a birth,

And none is stranger than your own.


You can’t say where, you can’t say when,

You can’t say who or even what

You’ll be until you are and then

You are yourself and nothing but—

Just one, just once, just for a time,

Never before and never after,

And call it miracle or crime,

In praise, in tears or even laughter,

You are the heir, the heir to wonder,

That one leaves off as you begin,

Whatever stars your birth is under,

Whatever genes you bear within.


The gods and heroes and the saints

And their reply to Being’s call

Imagination fondly paints

Beneath the One not born at all.

They came when Earth had wed the moon,

From foam upon the ocean tide,

The magic fruit born of the womb

Of withered crone or virgin bride.

Then comets streaked across the night

Or flowers tumbled from the sky;

The Earth would laugh in great delight

And ripened grain would multiply.

But all the splendor on the page

And all beneath the moon and sun:

Until you’ve leapt upon the stage

Nothing really has begun;

And so the ways the blest appear

Are walk-throughs for the world premier,

And all so that you might be shown

The strangest birth of all: your own.

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