Paeans - and Aches

over the years

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Illness, pain and grief are part of the ICU.
Death’s waiting too, with his net, in the ICU

An old woman screams against the dying of the night;
Her body’s giving up but not she, not yet, in the ICU.

A baby—a baby—tubes feed and drain him.
Hasn’t breast-fed or got his diaper wet, in the ICU.

Accident victim: eyes vacant through bandages.
It hasn’t got inside his head that he’s in the ICU.

My mother. Needles, catheters, bedpans.
Phosphates low, dignity shed, in the ICU

You ask me to believe? You want me to pray?
Peter’s faith won’t be rekindled. Not in the ICU.


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