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Thursday 14 July 2011

The Delivery Ward

Hearing and speaking
                    each in his own language, 
                                             we conversed.
His worries seemed too superficial
                                  mine, too vague.
Processing round like riders on a carousel,
we wore strange, painted, poker faces
who'd ridden there
                  from worlds remote and uncommunicating
                                                        who saw,
each in his numbed condition,
nothing of those worlds but what was blurred and faint.

Only our saddled mounts for us were clear:
the swans of hope, the crocodiles of fear.
We were uneasy with each other
                              for we knew 
a day would come when we would find 
a year apart again - a year 
beyond those tight, constraining orbits. 
But for a while 
               the sleepy rise and fall
                                       the organ music
numbed our senses to the world outside.

His flippancy defined the the boundaries of fear.
Strangers for ever, each to each grew plain.
The doors were opened and we never met again.

Uncompromising, clean and clinical,
the corridors stretched out their cold arms
                                           in a kind of welcome.
My clothes seemed inappropriate
                               conspicuous on my arm
a raincoat hung -
                  a skin I could not wholly shed.
Forever in the way.

The room was bare and workman-like
                                  arranged with care.
Accomplished artisans with shrewd glance came
                                             and stayed to share 
a joke
      or move 
             unhesitatingly, as though
each little crisis had been planned. I watched the slow
continual ripple of attention
                                  move to and fro
as if a sea lapped gently on a beach,
                                    grow tall,
and run far up, submerging all...

and then the wind came
                      turning on its axis
boring like a bit the split sky down the grain
whilst shaving leaves swept past the window in a shower of pain,
The last wave left
and left behind it on the beach
                               a stranded son.
The deep now out of reach
                         the dry land strange,
while nature held her breath he fought for his
                                              and won.


SG said...

Hi Dave, the poem made me very curious, and I thought I'll ask you this question: how is the stranded son related to the protagonist?

Jinksy said...

That was beautiful - but your eyesight must be much better than mine, as I couldn't read it until I'd copied and pasted your words onto a notebook page that gave me a legible font size!!

jabblog said...


Rose said...

Beautiful - simply beautiful - the end, the last verse is just so so perfect - the perfect beginning!

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable, i especially like the line "The swans of hope, the crocodile of fear" the first thing i thought of was these creatures are predator and prey, one hoping for a meal the other hoping not to become one :-).

kaykuala said...

He appears to be a fighter. Great verse!

Jenny Woolf said...

"Strange, painted, poker faces...crocodiles of fear" - so evocative.

Dave King said...

Hi. No prob. Father and son. This is a redraft of an old poem.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but it should be easier than that. You should be able to adjust the size in your browser. I'm using Opera just now. Not surewhat you have, but if you click on View you should find something there to help. In mine it allows me to zoom, say to 120% or whatever suits.

Thanks. That's really good to know.

That's a very kind response. Thank you for it.

Ah, isn't the stomach always primary!

Doesn't give up easily, certainly!

Thank yuo very much. Greatly appreciated.

lucychili said...

hospitals are such strange spaces.
so glad that he won
intense and scary experience.