Today I fed my daughter for the first time. It seems so short a time, but the practical nature of the world is tugging at us, and we are moving her on to the bottle. If truth be told I am pleased, as it means I can be a bigger part of her world now.
Yesterday I visited St George’s market and loaded myself up with fruits, vegetables, fish and coffee. I also noticed that the book man had a refresh of stock. I was running behind time and couldn’t give the new arrivals the time they deserved. I would have left the stall feeling a little deflated if I had not spotted Jizzen. This little collection was published over a decade ago and I have so far been unable to get my hands on a copy. As soon as I spotted it there was no question. Today and yesterday I have been devouring it and I have to say that, so far, it is my favourite of Kathleen Jamie’s poetry collections. Jizzen means childbed, and the collection includes poems about her carrying, giving birth to, and caring for her newborn daughter.
This is how I found myself, doing a series of unmanly things. I found myself in a cafe with my daughter in my arms. I found myself without the lovely Sharon or the little man who had both went for a walk in the park. I found myself feeding the little lady and sipping coffee. I found myself mesmerised by her for long periods of time. Then, here’s where I made my biggest mistake, I found myself reading poetry about children and life. Powerful poetry. Overwhelming. I found myself trying to stop myself from crying.
After a while the coffee was gone, the milk was gone, and I became convinced that the last of the little lady’s burps were gone. The shoppers had all topped themselves up with tea and scones before they all began to drift off home. By this stage I had regained my composure and spotted the last people begin to leave the cafe. This is where we have to rely on the kindness of strangers and the cuteness of little babies. I had nothing but myself, my daughter, a poetry book, and an empty bottle of milk. I asked a lady if she could hold the little lady for a minute while I put on my cardigan and coat. As I left her standing with my magnetic daughter the cafe staff sensed a kind of ice was broken and moved in to gaze at her and enquire how new she was to this world. They had been watching me, and as I cradled my baby back into my chest one of them said that it was not often that they see a man do such things.