A Calling

It was a pile of bare facts
offered on thumbed A4 papers
She searched it whilst
suffering from acute self-diagnosis

but could only uncover Diverticulitis
there typed out and slid between
other printed sheets
filed in black dust-lined trays

whilst an old boy too-loudly
then too-brightly – grutched
far too-noisily about
his own complaint to a nurse

Consultants’ rooms
are time-flawed monasteries
of waiting – of slow duties – with prayer
and others’ voices bound to

callings to blind-pulled cells
in which our tired priests sit
But this is my wife’s summoning
to another saint-named place

And – again – an absolution follows
That necessary shrift to solve
discomforts set under our skin
and over our lives

and we are lucky – we leave
without having to see higher gods
for a second opinion
This referral is her small miracle

And Disorderly

He visits lost priests
to mumble-in-vain
for what?
His loose-lip prayers weave
over tremble-woven fingers –

This is the church –
this is the steeple –
look inside
and see the people –

God’s gatekeepers
cannot force the bolts –
not slammed
gavel-struck ones –
so he carries his sentence

out in public spaces
as drunken stumbles –
Ready the stocks
they mutter to others –
He is a convict clapped

in cold iron hobbles –
Of his own bad choices
manacles left visible
to every untrained eye –
they see another barfly


 

A (Steam) Fair Diagnosis

I noticed the tremor in his hand
which seemed to be driven
from his bone-high wrist

as if he were deftly turning
an invisible threaded nut
and spinning it quick
up to the bolt’s bare shank

His wife’s coffee was spilling
in that grip as he turned to me
and she took the tepid remnants

He smiled and announced
his own diagnosis just that week –
but he knew it well before –
how unwell he was becoming

The engineering marvels rolled by
under the sure wheel and steer
of coke-puffed mechanics

Each boiler and firebox was riveted
or screwed and wrenched as one
We tremored as the showmen rumbled