Stepping Out of Grief with Raj

Some things have ceased
to come along with me …
the Waiting Room
the Ventilation tubes
the Infusion lines
the Finger clip
the ICU machines
the Alarms
the Catheter bag
the Plastic aprons
the Lifting and Turning
the Mouth cleansing
the Pain in your Eyes
and in your Friends’ Faces.
But Kindness walks with me.
Sweet Nurses and the Sad
Consultant who couldn’t
meet my face to tell me and
the Wise Nurse who whispered
‘She’s watchng you.’

Holly-gathering in snow
we sank to our knees
and blew on our nails.
Fixing the swing and
rocking a cuppa.
Listening to choughs as
we smelled peat bogs burn.
Sunrise from your window,
Evening calls on your drive home
and your little hand in
seed trays or stringing night-time
lights amidst Sweet Peas and
Morning Glories, in blue pots.
Muj on the bench
in the sun
and You on the bench
in the sun.
Door open, kettle on,
laptop on, washing on.
Tickets for gigs,
Embroidery threads,
Reading glasses and books,
Camera and paintings.
Duvet cover and carpet lover
Secondhand rose and loving Carer.
Fatherless Child of mine
in Sweden jacket and red shoes
dancing the night away
in the hills.
Brown-eyed girl, I have never felt
so comforted, just stepping out
from Raja’s room.
Into his view, into our hills and
listening to the peace of
a summer’s morning with
schoolchildren’s voices on the air,
while blackberries ripen and
blackbirds and larks sing
above the window Lego box.

Ode to Simon Armitage

Uncurling my thoughts and
curling up to write that
there’s something comfy about you.
Well shod, brown shoes I remember
in Oldham Probation.
I was forty one and you, a listener,
with gentleness and an interest in
my Section 10 group doing English.
Your wall display of notes,
tracing the residential hike in
High Peak country,
telling it like it is.
Seventy eight now and watching a
Poet Laureate who feels like corduroy.