Because our blue-lit journey took us into A and E,

then obs on a proper ward,

I didn’t clear drawers containing sailor whites or flags.

It wasn’t me that sorted photographs,

twenty sets of dentures, broken glasses,

or all the empty bottles that he’d stashed beneath the bed.

Because I’d pleasepleasepleased to the hospital with you,

all I got to see were empty rooms.


Because I wandered corridors at 3 and 4am,

wide awake and craving,                                                         

I didn’t fret so much about the eulogy or wake;

forgot to tell the celebrant you wouldn’t sing his favourite.  

They played it on a crem CD instead.

Because the post-ictal phase

doesn’t recognise what day it is,

the year, or who’s the president,

or that my Dad was dead,

there were seven days spent

in wretched limbo, looking after you.


Because our blue-lit journey took us into A and E,

then obs on a proper ward,

all I got to see were dusty carpets,

yellow ceilings, thick with memories,

echoing in empty rooms

bereft of all the daft tat,

gadgets that he’d only used once;

old certificates, records

of a dandy matelot wanderer                                                                            

now skipped and gone for good.                                                                      


I didn’t hang around at the wake.

Came straight back to the hospital

and there you were, intellect and beauty

shining brightly from within                                                                            

and when you smiled, it didn’t matter

that I didn’t have material

or tattered little fragments of the past.

I had the present,

and that is all we ever really have.



Napowrimo 2019

◄ The Last Shanty

The Ties That Bind ►


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Laura Taylor

Thu 18th Apr 2019 13:03

Day 18, Napowrimo 2019

Today's prompt: write an elegy, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.


Not entirely sure I was successful in this prompt, but I will deffo return to the poem for editing in May.

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