To the Midwife

by Said Salah

The mother we don’t acknowledge;
The mother ignored,
And unknown
Is you: the mother who is midwife.

A woman keens with contractions,
Labours under pain,
Utterly reliant
On your compassion and care:
You mother her, midwife.

Each tongue the world speaks
When a child is born,
The welcome
At the threshold of life
Is you, mother midwife. 

From the day the egg
Implants in the womb,
As the earth’s
Troubles stir,
As the child is counted,
He gazes,
He cries.
The first in awe,
Is you: the mother who is midwife.

You are intent
On the baby’s being;
First guide on the path
Of his wobbly walk,
That he might be as good as he can:
One who atones for us.

The literal translation of this poem was made by Ahmed Ismail Yusuf

The final translated version of the poem is by Clare Pollard


This translation was commissioned by The Somali Week Festival which is organised by Kayd and supported by Arts Council England.


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