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Thursday 1 December 2011


The film is finishing
the credits roll
I think of bed. A knock.
My neighbour from next door.
Smartly dressed and hair in place...
Apologies. Disturbing me...
Her husband has collapsed.

I find him slumped, a dead weight in the chair.
He's in his dressing gown. Somehow
I get him gently to the floor.
No sign of life.
A mirror to his lips stays clear.
I start the drill, hoping I'll remember it,
but know it is no good. The medics come.
Take over. More professionally, they try -
but soon decide to stop.

It's not until the body in its decent bag
has gone, that she confides:
She too had been prepared for bed.
Modesty would not permit
her calling on me in her dressing gown.

The facts exonerate us all:
a massive heart attack:
dead from the start.


Windsmoke. said...

A well written poem about a real life situation that can happen to any of us at any time no matter what the age. It also makes ya wonder will it happen to me and when :-).

Misterio Vida said...

oh man... such a tragic poem this one... :(

Tabor said...

Very hard read and so normal...unfortunately. Not sure why she 'confesses' she is getting ready for bed, though.

Elisabeth said...

Grim thoughts, Dave but wonderfully depicted, the ambivalence of life over death in loved ones.

Dave King said...

Tabor's comment has induced me to reinstate two lines which I had edited out when posting. They are to be found in the penultimate verse.

Titus said...

The baldness of the language, the terse lines, make this very powerful. Particularly liked 'decent bag' and the final three lines.

haricot said...

The begginung part is interesting;
the film finished and endroll started....then it happend like a echo.

Anonymous said...

Perfect Dave - and I think the two lines you reinstated fit in well, the guilty explanation. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Very well done. People really can't know how they will behave in such circumstances. I've been through them as well, when one is a bit amazed (if lucky enough not to be the person involved) and kind of crazed (if one of the party.) Agh.

I have a sestina on a similar subject, if you are interested. (It was actually my first sestina, so I get the form but not so well.)

I have not been able to do the link correctly, so will just post it. http://manicddaily.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/another-sestina-sigh-vacuum/

Brian Miller said...

it is pretty intense to have to give CPR or first aid...i had to do it on my mom who broke her leg last year...not fun...have also been there at deaths another not fun experience...nicely captured though in your words dave...

Cassiopeia Rises said...

Interesting twist to your well written poem. Loved it.


Tommaso Gervasutti said...

"The facts exonerate us all": How true. This line is a whole poem in itself.

HKatz said...

Part of what makes the poem effective is the matter-of-fact tone. It brings home the point that while these events are tragedies, they happen all around us, and people react in strange ways all around us, and the best we can do is keep a level head and try, do the best we can.

Mary said...

Dave, what a tragedy!! This could happen to any one of us...a reminder of our mortality.

Sheila said...

oh wow, all I can say is wow.

Dave King said...

I agree, it does leave you with such thoughts. Thanks for yours.

Indeed, it was a very tragic incident.

Thanks for your thoughts - You were instrumental in convincing me that I was wrong to remove the lines.

Thanks for this. The ambivalence, I think, is key.

Thank you for those observations. I find them very useful indeed.

Yes, I think I'm with you here. Thanks for saying.

Thanks for this. It is a great help to hear these things.

Thanks for the reflections. Much appreciated, as is the link. I shall certainly go and have a read.

I have to agree with you. Not nice, indeed sums it up. Grateful for the comments on the poem.

Thank you very much. Good to have you visiting.

Yes, thanks. I actually hadn't appreciated its wider application when I wrote the phrase.

Hi, a warm welcome to you. I appreciate your observations and would particularly endorse the strange reactions comment. I guess though, that they are only strange because we are not privy to their cause.

Indeed, I quite agree. Thanks.

'Tis enough - believe me! Thanks.