Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sunday Visit

Sunday Visit

Sunday and
I visit him
in the place filled with disinfectant smells
to which he will abandon himself
after he dredges the depths of his memory,
the pain
the stretcher-party
the stink of gangrene
in a hospital ward full of promises ~
often not kept.



  1. Oh poet - what a dark, sad poem. I have read it several times and I can find no single hint of promise in it. I am sure there are such situations. I believe there is a documentary on TV tonight about soldiers badly injured in the present Afghan campaign. I don't like to be an ostrich but I really cannot bear to watch it. Does this make me a coward?

  2. Watching newsreels of wars, as I am doing (just saw Ludovic Kennedy who was involved in the sinking of the Bismark), makes one neither a hero or a coward. Those who were/are there are the heroes and cowards. The rest of us are mere voyeurs.

  3. Poignant. I know that disinfectant smell and can almost smell it, reading this.

  4. Thank you Dominic. I think it's quite effective. That half-word '-party' gives it the required jolt I think.

  5. Weaver, it was "the war to end all wars" they were told in 1918/19 when it was all over and 10,000,000 dead and the Spanish flu set in and set to kill another 50,000,000 and so they may have though "well, something was achieved, there will be no more wars after this horror of horrors" and yet, as we know it still goes on, on a daily basis.

  6. My grandfather was dug out of a mudslide at Paschendale and this might be his poem, except that there was no-one to visit him. Sometimes the promises are kept but the cost is very high. Without the six short lines in the middle the poem could be about any older man - my dad this past summer, yourself, our friends - in that situation of self abandonment that hospitalisation necessarily involves, even if it doesn't end in death. The play of that double meaning is very effective. This is a powerful piece - terse and evocative, with nothing extraneous to distract from the dark sadness weaver points out.

  7. Mairi, many thanks and much appreciated. GW

  8. A heartfelt, beautiful poem capturing the frame of mind of a soldier who has been to hell while fighting in a war.


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