Updated: Apr 22, 2019
I've been refreshing my resources for Baby Naming Ceremonies and I've struggled to find readings I really love - prose or poems that express how I remember feeling when I held each of my tiny babies in my arms and felt that thunderbolt of love and responsibility surging through me.
The challenge with readings for ceremonies is that they have to connect with an audience on their first listen. I love Sylvia Plath's poem, You're, for example. But, while I think the last two lines:
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.
would make attentive listeners smile, even if they hadn't heard it before, I think the rest of the poem demands a little too much work from the reader for it to work for the mix of people present at a naming ceremony. (And let's not forget just how distracting the sight of a buffet table is...)
At the other end of the scale there's what I snobbishly call the 'Hallmark poems'. It's not that the sentiments expressed aren't spot on - babies' feet are exquisitely tiny and of course a child is a precious gift - but the familiarity of these images deadens their impact.
So I've tried to come up with something that's a half way house between these two poles - something that's truthful and sincere, but which doesn't aspire to be high literature. Obviously when I had a go at writing a baby blessing myself, I discovered just how hard it is. It's incredibly hard to express the emotions our children make us feel without being twee. I don't think I've escaped that charge altogether...
This is a first draft (despite the fancy picture; I just really wanted to play with some new gold paint and sealing wax that arrived today!) so do tell me what you think - I'm not precious!
A Baby Blessing
My little, little love:
Soft as fresh clay,
Shaped by my every touch,
I promise to love you and love you.
I promise to fill your cup
Over and over and over,
With every breath I take,
With every beat of my heart.
So that it will never run dry.
And even if I die tomorrow,
You will carry me, my child, forever,
As I carry you today.
If you're planning a baby naming ceremony or any kind of event to celebrate the children in your family, do have a look at my website to see how I could help you.
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