Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1699. The Unborn
 
By Julia Neely Finch
 
 
THOU art my very own,
A part of me,
Bone of my bone
And flesh of my flesh.
And thou shalt be        5
Heart of my heart
And brain of brain—
In years that are to come to me and thee.
 
Before thou wast a being, made
Of spirit, as of flesh,        10
Thou didst sleep beneath the beats
Of my tumultuous heart, and drink,
With little aimless lips
And blind, unseeing eyes,
From every bursting vein        15
Replete with life’s abundant flood.
Ay! even of my very breath,
And from my blood
Thou didst imbibe the fresh
And glorious air, that holds the sweets        20
Of nature’s sure and slow eclipse;
That ceaseless round of life and death
Which are the close entwinëd braid
Of all the seasons’ subtle mesh
And endless chain.        25
 
In a soft and silken chamber set apart—
Here, just beneath my happy heart,—
Thou didst lie at dreamy ease
While all my being paid
Its tribute unto thee.        30
What happy hours for thee and me!
As when a bird
Broods on its downy nest—
So would I sit
And watch the flit        35
Of idle shadows to and fro,
And brood upon my treasure hid
Within my willing flesh.
And when there stirred
A little limb—a tiny hand!—        40
What rapturous thrills of ecstasy
Shook all my being to its inmost citadel!
Ah! none but she who has borne
A child beneath her breast may know
What wondrous thrill and subtle spell        45
Comes from this wondrous woven band
That binds a mother to her unborn child
Within her womb.
As in the earth—
That fragrant tomb        50
Of all that lives, or man or beast—
Soft blossoms bud and bloom and swell,
So didst thou from my body gain
Sweet sustenance and royal feast.
 
Then through the gates of priceless pain        55
Thou camest to me—fair, so fair,
And so complete
From rose-tipped feet
To silken hair!
And there beneath each pearly lid,        60
There glowed a jewel—passing rare!
It moves and breathes! It slakes its thirst
At my all-abundant breast!
Oh, moment born of life—of love!
Oh, rapture of all earth’s high, high above!        65
Three lives in one—
By loving won!
My own—and thine—
Oh, bond divine!
Our little child! Our little child!        70
 

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