Last stop before paradise.

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Last stop before paradise.                                                                              


An April rain has streaked the windows, smudging the view of suburban streets.

The chill breeze bends the spring’s first flowers and the TV’s showing old repeats.

In the lounge of The Willows nursing home the care assistants are serving teas.

After the adverts comes the snooker and everyone watches but no one sees.

“Is it sugar for you now Mr Wilson? Yes, I remember, just the one,

And perhaps you’d like a biscuit? I’m afraid the bourbons have all gone.”

“How are you feeling Mrs Parsons? Now don’t forget to take your pill.

I’m sure next week your son will visit, and we wouldn’t want you getting ill.”


And time creeps by with clock-tick slowness as morning fades and evening comes,

To the bunioned feet in sagging slippers, the idle fingers and busy thumbs.

While among the faded cards and flowers Mr Timms wipes rheumy eyes.

After his op he’s in remission, with a mind that’s filled with hows and whys?

He thinks of the hands of his latest surgeon, who just last month had saved his life.

Fortunate really for two weeks later he was able to watch as they buried his wife.


Still some days do bring fresh diversions, old friends to chat, new pains to bear,

The unexpected fleeting visit, a new face for the empty chair.

And there’s a special treat next Wednesday evening, as a corpulent man with a florid nose

(With the help of his wife on a portable organ) does clapalong ballads and songs from the shows.

And then there’s always conversation, (nothing controversial please).

Stick to the tried and tested topics, the weather, the food, the obituaries.


The familiar shape of a large Mercedes glides to a halt in the parking bay

The proprietor on his daily visit - just to check that all’s O.K.

He shakes and furls his golf umbrella, “Good afternoon, you all look well!

Sorry I can’t stay for dinner ��" such an appetising smell!”

He strides through the room to the Matron’s office, sovereign rings and Aegean tan

A smile as weak as the bulk-buy tea bags, and a lingering trail of Paco Rabanne.


And away from the world, in worn down armchairs, tired minds turn to yesterday

When youth and strength and health and passion don’t seem so very far away,

When each tomorrow held a promise, and time, like money, seemed well spent

But experience has taught the wisdom - we cannot buy, we only rent.

And so we queue in orderly fashion, waiting for that final bus

And while away the shortening hours, killing the time that’s killing us.



◄ Silent Critic

Peacock Dreams ►


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Harry O'Neill

Sun 12th Oct 2014 16:54

Thanks Anthony for reminding us of this one.

This and Kens are two good `uns.

They both make me wonder if free verse could have stretched to a theme like this.

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Ged the Poet

Sun 12th Oct 2014 09:47

Anthony. Your comment to Ken on his poem directed me to have a look at this...
'He thinks of the hands of his latest surgeon, who just last month had saved his life.
Fortunate really for two weeks later he was able to watch as they buried his wife...'

This poem is so powerful it grabs you by the throat and compels you to read it over and over again. Brilliant work.

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sian howell

Sun 15th Feb 2009 13:18

Hi Anthony ..thanks for your comments re "Inheritance" you're very kind and it is heartening to see that you saw some of what was 'behind' or should I say 'between'.
the words.
Have just read some of your work..."Last stop before paradise" is just great and I really felt the inevitability of 'the end' and the utter frustration felt, together with lack of power to avoid this. Very good. Sian X

<Deleted User> (5646)

Sat 14th Feb 2009 14:29

Hi Anthony,
there's a lovely slow rhyming rhythm in this beautiful poem which will strike a chord in many a reader i think.
I sincerely hope this is not my destiny though.

There really are some great lines in this but the last one is really powerful.

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