I live in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes. Most times I live in my head, quite unaware of my surroundings – if you know what I mean… If you succeed in tracking Sean Walsh, please let me know, ok? I've been searching for him for years…
Ah, years ago, now. The doctor passed me on
to a specialist and he said –
“We’ll have you as good as new in jig time…”
Oh, nothing major. Still, a general anaesthetic is a –
well, it is!
I checked into an inner city hospital:
Gaunt, red-bricked, Victorian.
Creaking all the way from Main Entrance
to X Ray, Reception to Theatre,
Canteen to Cardiology…
A Men’s Ward that seemed to stretch forever
across a sea of russet linoleum
to Dickensian lavatories.
Floor polish and disinfectant.
Harassed nurses, whirling past,
fighting fatigue, resolute in white.
The old and the not-so-old:
empty-eyed, withdrawn, distressed.
Smokers coughing abominable sputum.
The camaraderie of an optimistic few:
wheezing gems of wisdom –
honed bons mots – in pristine Dublinese.
And then it happened,
the January of the Deep Freeze:
storm winds beating against the windows,
snow swirling down, blanketing,
from an ink sky…
Next day, stand-still:
impassable roads, treacherous pavements.
Yet she made it. Jenny. In to see me.
Lurching, slipping, swaying, falling…
‘Determined to reach me on the eve
of the Big Knife.
I glanced up from a so-so paperback
to find her at the end of my bed:
smiling, glowing, radiant,
melting snow on anorak and headgear,
exuberant at the challenge of it all…
Jenny?… But how – ? No, I mean…
Oh-hh… Ah, come here to me… Oh, Jenny!
Jenny a leana!
Oh, Dad! Dad, will you be all right?
God, Dad, if anything happened to you I,
I don’t know what I’d… I’d be lost.
No, Dad, nothing must happen! You’re to
come home to us, safe and well, have to!
Mum sends all her love
and says she’ll be in to see you as soon as…
She’ll ring in the morning, first thing,
to find out how – how…
Dad, I’m using all your tissues…