Poetry 137: Surgical Ward: Men by Robert Graves

Interior_of_the_Mater_Misericordiae_Hospital,_Brisbane,_1914_(25478966941)

Something occurred after the operation
To scare the surgeons (though no fault of theirs)
Whose reassurance did not fool me long.
Beyond the shy, concerned faces of nurses
A single white-hot eye, focusing on me,
Forced sweat in rivers down from scalp to belly.
I whistled, gasped or sang, with blanching knuckles
Clutched at my bed-grip almost till it cracked:
Too proud, still, to let loose Bedlamite screeches
And bring the charge-nurse scuttling down the aisle
With morphia-needle levelled….

                                                             Lady-Morphia-

Her scorpion kiss and dark gyrating dreams-
She in mistrust of whom I dared  out-dare,
Two minutes longer than seemed possible,
Pain, that unpurposed, matchless elemental
Stronger than fear or grief, stranger than love.

If you would like to suggest a poem for inclusion in this series then please email me at richard@middlewaysociety.org.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

About Richard Flanagan

I’m an Operating Department Practitioner who works for my local NHS trust in Shropshire, UK. I’m married with two young children (plus two dogs and a corn snake) and am currently undertaking an Open University degree in History. I listen to a lot of music of all genres, but especially Rock (Punk, Alternative etc.) and enjoy cooking, eating and drinking. Although I don’t consider myself to be a Buddhist I am interested in some Buddhist ideas and practices. As such, I was briefly active with Secular Buddhism UK and it was through that group that I came to be involved with the Middle Way Society.

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