Donna Langevin

In the Forest of the Night
          after William Blake
Mariupol, March 9, 2022

Here in Canada, my grandson will be born
in a hospital. He will be placed
at his mother’s breast to taste
her sweet milk joy.
Later, swaddled in a flannel blanket,
he will sleep in a crib
built from beechwood.

Family and friends will come
bearing gifts; some giving
thanks to their god.

Tempted to fold my hands
and fall on my knees,
I will do neither.

Holding my new grandson, I will recall
the news from another forested country
where snow shrouds
pine needles and bare branches
of maple, ash, and sycamore trees.
There, a mother with a mounded belly
pleads for her baby’s life as she bleeds
on a stretcher rushed
from a bombed hospital.
That night, they both die.

My Lord, I will question
if you exist, by what art
do you watch with kind eyes
over one birth, yet turn
your back on another?


Donna Langevin’s fifth poetry collection, Brimming was published by Piquant Press, 2019. She won first place in The Banister anthology competition 2019 and also in the Ontario Poetry Society Pandemic poem contest 2020. Winner of a second place Stella award, her play, Summer of Saints was produced in July 2022 by Toronto Metropolitan University