The Caul

by Jane Yolen

I am learning about cauls,
membrane across the face,
the veil of skin,
thin handkerchief of life,
lifted with infinite care
that the infant not bear scars
on face or psyche.
What a race we are, to treasure
this helmet of birth,
worth a superstition,
wrapped in tissue,
sold to sailors,
salve for safety,
medal of leadership,
and a muddled message.

This year is the fiftieth consecutive year Jane Yolen (America's Hans Christian Andersen) has had books published. She has 335 books out with more on the way and has won Caldecotts, Nebulas, World Fantasy awards, and poetry awards. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates.

When asked of what poem the word "cherry" immediately makes her think, she replied as follows: "Delmore Schwartz's 'I Am Cherry Alive. . .'"

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