Personal Choice 77
On the Birth of a Son
The day the boy was born, the wall fell down
That flanks our garden. There’s an espaliered pear,
And then the wall I laboured with such care
Such sweat and foresight, locking stone with stone,
To build. Well, it’s just a wall, but it’s my own,
I built it. Sitting in a garden chair
With flowers against the wall, it’s good to stare
Inwards. But now some freak of wind has blown
and tumbled it across the lawn – a sign
Perhaps. Indeed, when I first saw the boy,
I thought, he’s humble now, but wait a few
Years and we’ll see! - out following a line
Not of our choice at all. And then with joy
I looked beyond the stones and saw the view.
David Campbell (1915 – 1979) was an Australian poet who wrote over 15 volumes of prose and poetry. He was also a talented rugby union player who represented England in two tests.
What a superb extended metaphor Campbell uses with such wonderful effect to announce the birth of his son. The birth of David my own son echoes for me so marvellously in that first line and how perceptive has the poet been when as the years have passed, I looked beyond the stones and saw the view. In an addition a perfect Petrarchan sonnet!