Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Coup de Grâce

That’s yer actual French, that is. It means lawnmower.

As I mentioned the other day, there is a definite and almost immediate correlation between my putting a poem — whether one of my own or someone else’s — on this blog, and a dramatic drop in readership. The correlation is so marked that it’s hard to resist the idea that there’s a causal connection, though it’s hard to work out what that might be.  Perhaps someone somewhere has developed poetry-detection software which alerts one to the danger even before one has glanced at the offending web page.

Anyway, having thus ‘caused’ readership to drop the other day, I thought I’d try —  purely in the spirit of scientific enquiry and not — heaven forfend! — out of any mad idea that someone out there likes poetry — delivering the coup de grâce in the form of a second and surely fatal poem. It’s one of mine I fear, and appropriately was written while recovering from something that very nearly killed me:


Hospital Sapphics

For the nurses of St Margaret’s Ward.


Wheeled here sleeping; waking to light and laughter:
Nurses, nursing. One or two men, more women.
Porters, cleaners, trolleys with tea and biscuits.
                     Lie to attention:

Enter, stage left, stethoscopes worn like medals,
Doctors, striding: ‘We are the men who fight the
Never-ending battle against the microbe.’
                     Later the women

Watch me, listen, lean to explain or answer:
Skills unmartial, healing by heart and patience.
Safe now, sliding back into sleep, the shapes of
                     Nurses come nearer.

Simon Darragh.



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