Sonnet for the Unborn Child by Sarala Estruch

2018 Waltham Forest Poetry Competition: Third place in Local Prize for poets who work, live or study in Waltham Forest


Yours is a curious spaceship: a stick
of pink plastic, urine-dipped – a blue line
and the numeral five blinking on the side
of the stick. So you arrive into our world –
though you were there already, had been
for a month (or more, who could tell?)
amid the nebulae of blood and cells
a constellation of heat and light
waiting for the night to ripen – and me
as ignorant as a black hole. Now I stand
beneath the moon, waiting for the sky
to split open and reveal you, constellation
dancing in liquid space. I want to see you –
I want to see your shape.


Sarala Estruch is a freelance writer, poet, critic and arts journalist based in Waltham Forest. Her poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, reviews and journalism have appeared in literary journals such as Wasafiri, Mslexia, and The North, and in national presses such as The Telegraph and The Guardian. In 2017, Sarala was a winner of The Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers Competition, which seeks to find, mentor and publish exciting new voices in poetry. A pamphlet-length collection of her work appears in Primers Volume Three, Nine Arches Press (2018). Her work has also been commended for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize and the Poetry Book Society National Student Poetry.


When I first sat down to write the poem that became ‘Sonnet for the Unborn Child’, I wanted to write about the life-changing experience of discovering I was pregnant with my first child. Over several drafts, however, it gradually evolved into a poem about the ordinary and yet extraordinary miracle of life. I began to explore questions such as: where does life come from? How, when and why does life begin? I chose to use the universe as an extended metaphor in order to link the conception of a child to the mysteries surrounding the beginnings of all life.