Monday, 19 October 2015

“Poem Beside Your Hospital Bed”

This poem knocked me over when I read it in Real Cool: poems to grow up with, a wonderful anthology of Irish and international poetry edited by Niall MacMonagle*. "Poem Beside Your Hospital Bed" is simple, vast, and aims straight for the heart.

A week or so after discovering it I found it still on my mind. I phoned a friend who shares my love of good writing and read it to her without rereading it first. I had remembered I loved it; I had forgotten its content. One stanza in we were both in tears.

Thank you, Michael O'Dea, for articulating what we know so well, but couldn't say.


Poem Beside Your Hospital Bed                

Your face,
that I loved,
has changed so completely
that I already know
our time is gone.

And as dying
like a sandstorm,
rearranges your features,
I am useless,
a cripple of words.

So if the winds in your head
will carry the smallest breath
of what I am saying, father:
let it be that
my proud years are tatters here;
I love you.

* I was looking for a C.V. or something to tell you a little about the editor. These student evaluations are much better than that could be.
Follow the link on Michael O'Dea's name to visit his blog, Poetry and Miscellaneous Yap, which features a "world of Irish poetry and Irish poets, literature, politics, nature, mythology, archaeology, tourism, art, love and war, and whatever else comes to mind on any particular day". The link on the poem's name takes you to his posting of the same, with an introduction.

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