The Ship of Birth records a father's responses in the time immediately before and after the birth of his child. Just as material significant to the dead is placed in a ship of death, so this ship of birth contains what is significant to the child: the wonder and trepidation of the parents, reflections on the nature of the soul, thoughts on the future growth of the child. Greg Delanty's poems draw on his experiences in American and Irish cultures, using the traditional verse structures of seventeenth-century religious poets along with open modern colloquial forms to evoke the subtle interconnections of the past and future. Delanty acknowledges the dark and difficult reality that the child faces, while affirming the sustaining continuity of life.
Your head settles into the pelvic butterfly
of your Ma. Perhaps it's here the soul penetrates
your potentate's body as you slowly pry
your way out of your watery, burgeoning state.
You make, at best, a willing but much-pressed
subject and servant of your loyal queenmother,
what with your tantrums giving her small rest,
waking her at all hours; and every other
minute ordering her to sit on the throne.
You've grown large and despotic, a parody
of a mad medieval king who is prone
to great and unpredictable cruelty,
and who now, if we look at Your Highness upside down,
wears our unsettled kingdom's Pelvic Crown
“The Coronation” published in The Ship of Birth by Greg Delanty.
Copyright © 2007 by Greg Delanty All rights reserved.
GREG DELANTY was born in Cork City, Ireland, and maintains dual citizenship in Ireland and the United States, where he now lives. He is the author of The Ship of Birth and The Blind Stitch, among many other books, and he has received numerous awards for his poetry, including a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship
Found an Error? Tell us about it.