"A Circle of Four Women" (for Madeleine Rose)

Welcome to the world, dear daughter, welcome

I stand in a circle of four strong women
their stories intersecting,
through time and space
the first three united not by blood
but by choice of men married

This new one,
Madeleine Rose
holds all three within her tiny body
born in the care of nurses
compassionate angels
like the one whose name she bears

The first of the four
the nurse
giver of life and comfort,
her great-grandmother
my beloved grandmother
my mother's mother in law
the one who stood as mother for her
when her own passed far too soon
She who lovingly taught
my mother
of a woman's compassion and wisdom
and kindness
how to be the ideal mother-in-law
Lessons all that my mother has learned


as she embodies them now
as a beloved grandmother
as a cherished and kindly mother-in-law
to the love of my life
who lies in front of me holding
our flesh and blood at her breast
from the ordeal of bringing the circle a new


and filled with love for her family
my mother shares the lessons lovingly
teaching by example and not
by lecture
and judgment

In her arms my wife holds the fourth of four
strong women
wonderful women
her tongue gently dancing through the rolled r's
and lilting trilled syllables
of her lengua materna
As though she has prepared for this moment
all her life

I am safely held in a circle of
four strong women
no matter where

I stand

Newborn Madeleine finds comfort with Daddy's fingers 

Copyright © Andrew McKnight. All Rights Reserved.