Poem: Adhan

my eyes find hers, i say

one more push! you’re almost there

as women have done for years since time began, and


a rush of life.

my hands hold hope, slick with blood.

i wipe nose and mouth, look for tiny breaths, a whisper

on my hands.

she cries.

i smile, but


no words fall from my tongue.

not yet.

eyes wide with wonder he looks at me, i nod.

and there beside the bed, a new-born father finds, perfectly folded

his daughter’s tiny ear.

bends down


softly whispers ancient words

filled with God.

— adhan

© Liezel Graham 2019

From my book, A Counting of Love.

Page 79, Adhan.

Some births, much like some deaths, always remain with you as a nurse. When I delivered this little girl, the absolute wonder on her father’s face as I handed her to him is something I will never forget. It was glorious to witness and a gift to my heart.

A note on the Adhan—just after a baby is born, the father will bend down and whisper the words of the Adhan (the Muslim call to prayer), in the ear of their baby so that the call to serve Allah is present from the very beginning. I was always respectful of being as quietly supportive during the birth as I could be, so as to honour (as best I could professionally during the birth) the words of the Adhan being the first that the baby heard after they were born.

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