Pauline Rowe

Modern Love

What once seemed such a natural thing

is out of fashion, everything

maternal’s subject to a trial

of wealth and wages, then denial;

the manufacture of an heir

is not an urgent need.  To bear

a son remains a future dream

- first income, house and pension scheme.

The hustling of body clocks

no longer matches girlish frocks

unless you count the feckless poor

who procreate much as before;

the girls have babies, then the dads

move on to drugs, drink, other beds.

Aspirational females who

(may have an STD or two)

have intercourse upon demand –

will not conceive unless it’s planned.

The problem is a plan’s a plan

and cannot turn into a man

or child without the working parts

not hope, not trust, not bleeding hearts.

The body won’t, in spite of cash,

obey the will - you cannot stash

fertility for a future day,

the capacity can drift away.

You cannot make your bodies be

obedient, for each ovary

lives out its function, blithely failing.

Hear the thirty-somethings wailing.

When some decide to procreate

they can’t accept that it’s too late.

For decades they’ve had rituals

of sheaths and coils and caps and pills

not knowing if the prophylactics

were useful and effective tactics.

Imagine they were amulets

for fruitless bodies… all that sex

with barriers of every kind

of heart and body, love and mind.

Creaturely couples see GPs,

want IVF, or something please -

to make their busy lives complete

for this desire - so right, so sweet.

“The failure rate is very high,”

the doctor smiles.  He has to try

to put them off.  They say they’ll pay

so he refers them anyway.

“The take-home baby rate is low.”

They nod and nod – We know, we know.

They pay out thousands, try it twice,

the treatment cycle’s not that nice.

The woman’s hope stays in the clinic,

He becomes an expert, cynic.

He blames her, she blames herself.

They take divorce down from the shelf

and separate

and separate

their dreams have died.  It’s far too late.

Pauline Rowe © 2007