In May 2020, my sister Jennie was waiting to give birth to her first child in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The last few weeks of pregnancy had been pretty stressful for a number of reasons, and my brother-in-law wanted to encourage Jennie and help boost her levels of oxytocin—the ‘cuddle hormone’—which plays a key role in triggering contractions. He asked family members to send videos which he could show Jennie around the time of the baby’s arrival. This poem—or rather, a video of me reading the poem—was my response.

Here is where he hands you his labour of love, knitted in threads of eternity.

I love the imagery in Psalm 139 of God ‘knitting’ us together in our mother’s womb. I had often drawn encouragement from this image, but as I am not a mother myself, I had not previously given much thought to it from a mother’s perspective. As I reconsidered the psalm, my sister’s experience—as a mother about to give birth—was at the forefront of my mind.

The moment of birth is such a mystery. The eagerly-awaited person is, as yet, unknown, even to his or her own parents—until she is suddenly, wonderfully revealed. I imagined birth as a handing over from God’s care into my sister and her husband’s; a moment of commissioning.

Jennie is not usually a poetry fan, so I took a risk in writing ‘Bundle’ for her, but poetry is the best way I know to express things that are close to my heart. Fortunately, she loved it.  Afterwards, I discovered that Psalm 139 is her favourite psalm; she reminded me that it had been read at her wedding. Jennie liked the implied reference to DNA in the poem, and way it speaks of the Mother heart of God, recalling Isaiah 66:13 (NIV):

As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.


God revealed Grace Elizabeth to the world on 23 May 2020.




Psalm 139.

For Jennie.


God has been knitting.

All of these long nights

and days, he

with big, world-holding

hands, has taken up his

woman’s work in you,

tiny chains and strings of purl

caught up on minute,

universe-spinning needles.


All of these long weeks

and months, he has woven

within you: heart,

and eyes, and toes

and lungs for breath, spun

from the candy floss

of his own gold light, and

thin air, and love.


All of these days, he has

laboured, but now his

spool of thread hangs short.


Put out your hands.


God has a gift for you,

knitted in a pattern

drawn up for himself

in the time before

he gave birth to time.


Here is where his labour

ends so yours can begin.


Here is where he

hands you his labour

of love, knitted in


of eternity.


  • Emma Kemp is a poet and social worker, based in Coventry, UK, where she runs the local Stanza of the Poetry Society. She is a graduate of the University of Warwick, holding a BA in English Literature and an MA in Social Work. Her work has been featured in publications such as Disability and Faith Forum, Ekstasis and Poems for Ephesians. Emma's poetry deals with themes of faith and spirituality, the natural world and finding hope in dark places.

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