a poem for Rafa

I am thrilled to announce that our lovely son Raphael has arrived in the world. I have been busy getting to know the little fellow and occasionally snatching some sleep – so have not managed to write so much as a shopping list of late. Luckily as well as the safe arrival of our son we have also been blessed by having my mum come from Australia to meet Rafa and help his parents out. She has  written a poem for Rafa – which I am publishing here with her kind permission.  

A story of blackberries
I came to Edinburgh to meet you,
To be family in real time and space
To breathe you in to my heart and mind
Tiny new person of many countries  
A new child
There are so many questions
What will the world hold for you Rafa?
When you were just 10 days old your mum and I took you for a walk
Along the canal path in the baby carrier
I took a picture
Of Sandy picking early blackberries

Rafa and Rover picking Blackberries on Union Canal – Edinburgh

It reminded me of when your mum was just one week old
Her Dad and I took her
To collect apples and blackberries
from an abandoned orchard
there is a treasured picture of this time.

Rover and her Dad, apple and blackberry picking, Murrungowar – 1981.

Blackberries are a weed in Australia
A curse on some landscapes
Where they are out of control
Despite campaigns to eradicate them
With poison, burning and slashing.
They belong here in Scotland though,
A wild food great for foraging
Your other grandma arrived on her first visit
To meet you with a blackberry pie
Telling the story that once upon a time
Many people went to collect the fruit
But now a friend was the only one.
These events came to mind
When a man at the Book Festival – (Graeme Gibson)
Spoke of the way people were changing nature
Less birds, animals and plants
He told us that in the dictionary now
Apple and blackberry are no longer about fruit
But computer brands and gizmos
That tie people to their work 24 hours a day
Your Dad has one of these
I have a picture of you with him
Walking through the Edinburgh Fringe
On the way to register your birth.

Rafa and his dad on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

I am hopeful that the toughness of blackberries
Will ensure their survival
So that you too will take your billy
and collect the ripest, blackest and juiciest
of these sweet wild foods.
Then I can add that picture to this story.
Love Nanna Helen

September 2013

Rafa and his Nanna Helen in sunny St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.

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