All the gold a couple could wish for
Wrapped in a handy-sized bundle, gratefully received
This summer’s day: 4 August 2016
See how it was: his mother’s pale face suffused with joy
Father (proud father) cradling the reason for completing his daily round:
Te Deum – O God, We Praise You. Not needing to get high
To get through the tedium of it, as posties have been known to do.

Odour of ordinary infused with news of his rare condition
Each moment now incensed with unusual significance
The known unknowns – how much does he see in us, how long have we got?
Holding his parents as tightly as they hold him.

They wound trees to obtain the bittersweet resin known as myrrh,
As the parents of 10-month-old Charlie Gard have been wounded
By successive court judgements going against them.
Myrrh that’s made for healing and also for embalming –
How poignant the discrepancy now all their appeals have failed.

So tender is every sight of him, each instant
Looking back to the future that might have been
Each instance looking forward to no future at all
In quickening preview of a sickening end of time.


Poking out from a distraught dad’s top pocket
His boy’s cuddly monkey toy, tight-lipped grin in permanent upswing.
That monkey-face is polar (bear) opposite to the father’s fixed-down mouth-frown.

Boy can’t cuddle toy ’cos he just can’t move
A calm exterior may mask pain he feels but lacks the capacity to show
Such is the brain damage he’s suffered, we’ll never rightly know.

So here comes the judge; baroness, no less.
Mind sharp as a scalpel, she’s cutting in to the contradiction:
Medical advice versus parental instinct to prolong life at all costs.

Operation over, the hearing comes to an end.
The boy is to die – ‘dignified’; the parents may never recover.
But when the state intervenes for the sake of the child,
Humanity recuperates from natural calamity –
Or so it is claimed.