health

Poem from the archive: ‘Pain’s Sweet Tooth’ (May 2008)

Back in this place again

This place of doom and gloom

Bloated stomach passing for womb

Once I was well and pain

Was something felt from a

Prick of thorn or cut of steel

Not as now when it grows

From a live seed

Planted deep, sown down

In furrows, virulent its saplings writhe

For supremacy, squealing for

Sugar and coffee and tea

Cake and wine and syrup and cream,

Drops will not do, bring

Buckets for bowls, Life must

Be strained and stretched to

Feed Pain’s sweet tooth.

Notes on the poem

I wrote this 14 years ago, when I was struggling with a pituitary tumour and acromegaly.

I’m starting to include poems from this period of my life, from my first site : creativecoping.wordpress.com.

I think the past, in all its forms, memory, history, monument, is useful to the present.

By resurfacing these poems, I hope to remember the lessons life gave me then.

Human hair

The trees show their skins
Without shame, to the cold
They glare back, when we
Hide.

A shedding of hair is akin to
A shedding of complacency

When it was there, we noted
It not, when it is gone, weep

We it’s going, alone, without
A cover for our head, our

Bidding chip for love and more.

Should I keep a lock of it in a
Tin in the Watford soil, a relic
Of my time on this earth past?

A sigh of relief

Today I was told
That, according to new data,
The radiotherapy I had
May actually shorten
My life even more.  

There’s no turning back
There’s no switching off     
What was on
But there is always
Something science has
Yet to put her finger on.  

Cancer sidestepped the norm
Just by being born
And carries on in that vein
Plotting new ways to counteract
Natural or man-made attack.  

Let’s focus the energy, now,
Make our own gamma
Knives out of sheer love,

And when we have hacked the Radio cunning and counterproductive Reproduction with our own sweet lines,  

The bitterness of everything
Will ebb away and the
Body will breathe out

Untitled

There is no way out, the
Present is everywhere I go;
In every state I stop or start
The only EXIT is sleep;
Unless death is a dream.

Our so-called National Health Service

I need to do more

Than describe how

It feels to be

Ill. Ill people

Know that and

Well people

Dont care or

Need to-unless

They’re doctors or

Nurses. Then

They do but

Time is scarce

No leisure for

Poetry or Patience

To untangle its

Worth hidden in

Pain’s twisted knots.

No, timepoor,

Drug-rich, cut

Off the knots,

Throw the

Bits of rope

Away, buy

Some new

Rope, sew it

On, nevermind

The seam-

Scar, quick

Job done.

To untie the

Knot involves

Understanding

And immersion

In the problem.

Yes, the rope may break at the seam later

But the knot was confusing.