We three have never met
but there is always a place
set for you at my feast-days.

One day you will arrive
weary after long years of travel
through the kind of hardship
that begins deceitfully small.

We will sit together
and tell our stories –
of a land struck dead
by a curse, by a baby.

Of an ache – for something
so missing, that the sun
turned its face to the wall
and earth turned to winter.

When it is time for your leaving
I will lend you a child
to light your journey home:

a son to defend you
from the forest phantoms;
a daughter with her
dragon-soothing kisses.

Originally published as ‘Their Mothers’ in Steeplechase Park, Rockingham Press, 1996
COMPAS Poetry Competition 2013
Third Place