Poems by Mum: Remembering Anton

I am sorry but this is a page that may sadden you. It is about my son, Anton who died at five months old in 1993, a cot death. Yes, every mother's nightmare, a nightmare you just learn to live with. I was very upset at the prospect of cremating his remains until I saw him in the funeral parlour. It was then I realised with relief that the living, breathing child had long gone. The poem Mistaken Identity woke me up in the middle of the night and putting it out on the web is my own declaration that it is okay to survive this sort of tragedy. More recently, I wrote Never Never Child on the day Anton would have turned nine. It is sad, but it is also a celebration of the life that the family has managed to live in his absence.

Mistaken Identity

The relief of identity mistaken
Washes all over me
The relief of realisation
This lifeless form cannot be

The one I loved that summer long
Whose smiles made me persist
The form so soft whose lovely warmth
My arms could not resist

O sweet relief this stolen soul
That still before me lies
Is not the wakeful infant
Who hushed to my lullabies

I know the face before me
As well as I know the day
But the life that thrived within
Has somehow gone astray

O sweet relief to find that here
Lies not my beloved one
But a cold, abandoned empty shell
Cast aside by my wilful son

And when they take these sad remains
Away to do what they might
They won’t be taking my baby
Whose soul has taken flight.

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Never never child

He never did need to be told
To mind the cars as he crossed the road
Never did beg for another sweet
Never did skateboard up and down the street.

He never wept over a lost toy
Never flew like Super Boy
Never lingered over a bowl of ice cream
Never was gutted over a football team.

He never argued over a stupid rule
Never answered back like a stubborn mule
Never cycled without his helmet
Never ate nectarines by the punnet.

His visit lasted for that one summer
A beautiful babe like no other
Taken from me without a warning
My never never child never ever returning

Never was he six nor seven nor eight
Never for a birthday would he have to wait
Never ever was meant to be mine,
And now, he will never be nine.

On Anton’s ninth birthday, 22 March 2002

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