Ten Years

Looking back
it seems impossible
I lived 10 years
in this shed here

- no dog & no cat!

A bed with 2 blankets
rumpled & dirty.
Hard-fuel stove (1)
a tin bath. ‘Exterior’
wooden lavatory box
with cubed 6 ft squared-earth-
drop, slap under the seat !


 Nobody came to this part of the estate.

I slunk to the village twice weekly
to buy bread. Saturdays there was meat
( cheap, pretending I had a dog )
I wish to God I'd had at least a cat
or a caged-bird...

Persons in the village
had faces, maybe they had children,
had mothers , lovers - their lives rolled &
rolled !

 Outside my one window (Noah's ark
perhaps, but with no Ararat to stick itself on!)

 the only certain faces were bird-faces,
bush-faces. Occasionally a family of frogs
(foraging, or going someplace) hopped up
business-like more than a furlong
from the fishpond.

A blackbird
( a white spot on its head - evidently
a queer!
) appeared 3 years in a row
- 6 am. - idly twittering, methodically
sitting (by appointment?) to mate up with some
similar ostracised odd thing!

Every year bulbs multiplied in my grass plot

[instead of black cat, yellow canary or white
dog?] & fancifully a wild pear threw up
its confetti & matched itself off [ridiculously?]
with a double cherry!


Nothing noteworthy else
happened here ( in 10 years ) except that I grew
sick - my guts griped me - & emptily old.


People ( whom I never touched & who couldn't
touch me) took my temperature, brought me soup,
& pictured themselves heroically roping me
- is this  unkind? - like a bogged cow from a swamp.

In hospital I matched my nothing with their
by God EVERYTHING. I prayed to be taken
to a place where nobody plans anything for anyone.
Where millions of bodies can fit comfortably
- happily - into a single box.†

Where my hopes  &
her hopes, my thoughts & his thoughts are one
thought & one hope.


'The fight OUT THERE' ( the announcer
has just announced ) ‘progresses unfavourably'.

Both sides are short of something. Maybe
it's helicopters . . . or tents. . . or it's cereals
possibly or rice  . . .

The surgeon, I think, though
I can hardly see him, has just entered.
He discusses
the problem with the physician.
they've decided there's nothing for it but
forthwith to strip down & begin
at some
lost point in time when hopefully
I might have come in.
Good luck to them!




† It used to be said that a box ( base one square mile,
    height half a mile ) would contain the earth's
    population & could be thrown into the Grand Canyon
    & forgotten.


Here in this impression are some memories of a period of loneliness. To be continually alone is an odd condition, likely to be accompanied by odd ideas.

The old lady clings to independence, but is deeply afraid of loneliness; she fears, as she grows older, that presently she will be instructed or directed.

She suffers from a terminal disease - possibly cancer - & she silently wishes good luck to the physician & surgeon, who agree together to treat her trouble - or so she thinks - as if it had just begun.