Fleur Adcock

Eva Remembers Her Two Brothers Called James

When she thinks (if she does) of the first James
it is of a six-year-old who died
when she was fourteen, of meningitis.

His spirit, like a trespassing sprite,
flew into his parents’ marriage bed
and lurked there as they comforted each other.

A month later, conspiring with the genie
of ovulation and the hormone fairies,
it implanted itself in a fertilised egg,

to be born in July 1890
and loaded with the same eight syllables:
James Arthur Dickson Eggington.

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