The wind in the willows
And an atheist’s glare
As our Father reads further,
Words hanging in the air;
Did my daddy believe?
I believe he did not,
Does that matter? Perhaps no,
But it feels odd, it feels odd.

Yet what isn’t odd
About this undeserved end,
About this skeleton, rasping,
In this hospital bed?
About the visitors, visiting,
Paying penultimate respects,
And the nurses, nursing
Another man to his death.

Next obs to perform;
Next bed sheets to change.
Next patient who’s groaning
And stinks of decay;
Mr Smith in Bay Two
Just a few days to live,
And Miss Maple in Seven
Who drinks through a drip.

Well-meaning visitors
Bring cards and best wishes,
Drink tea, drink coffee,
Talk all sorts of rubbish;
“doesn’t he look peaceful
/he seems better today
/he’s just sleeping through it
/he’s in the right place”

When at last I’m alone
Night falls on the ward
I can watch you, still fighting
Against all the odds.
You won’t fight forever
And already you’re weak
Tired of battling
This hell-sent disease;
This bitch of an illness,
Whose razor-sharp claws
Have relentlessly pursued you
From life to death’s door.

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