Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hospice

Hospice

by Robin Becker

I wanted to believe in it, the word
softer than hospital but still not home

like any other frame house on the street,
it had a lawn, a door, a bell—

inside, our friend lay, a view
of the garden from her room but no lift

to raise her from the bed. A sword,
the sun plunged across the cotton blankets.

I wanted dying to be Mediterranean,
curated, a villa, like the Greek sanatoria

where the ancients cared for their sick
on airy porticos and verandas

with stone paths that led to libraries.
A nurse entered her room and closed the door.

For the alleviation of pain, I praise
Morpheus, god of dreams, unlocking

the medicine drawer with a simple key,
narcotic placed beneath the tongue.

In the hall, the volunteer offered us coffee.
How could I think the Mozart in G major

we played to distract her could distract her?
Or marble sculpture in the atrium? 

 
"Hospice" by Robin Becker from Tiger Heron.

What's the poem saying to you? The chastened mood, the language so supple and simple, the mood as quiet as death itself. For me, somehow, poetry gets to the truth of the human experience, and the bedrock truth of human experience is that we must deal with death. It surrounds us, haunts us, defines us.
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