I’d decided that there would be just one more guest post in this series. But yesterday, by a strange kind of synergy, under an ominous grey sky with a very small dull red sun, I went off to St James’ Infirmary (there’s a Blues sung specially for it, you know) and the incredibly light and beautifully designed Oncology Dept. It has a big spacious atrium, and there’s a Baby Grand at which a succession of absorbed pianists tinkle soothing things throughout the day. There’s lovely looking fruit stall, and as a bonus yesterday, Macmillan Charity workers were selling the most staggeringly more-ish selection of homemade cakes you could shake a stick at. Up on the next floor in Nuclear Medicine I drank lots of water and then went along corridors with infinite perspectives to a a white room with a scanner straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was beyond white. It was very very white. Before that, in the waiting room, I read a lot of Pascale Petit’s Mama Amazonica. It’s astonishing. And I read three poems Rebecca Gethin sent me. And here are two of them. No explanation needed.
Coming round : Rebecca Gethin
I was breaching frost-cold water
but which was me and which was water
I couldn’t tell, the current drawing
what seemed to be a mind
further down to open sea
where taste was brackish,
vision salt and smarting
and my limbs moved
in the fallingfeeling
lived in its breathlessness,
but I breathed through its pounding
as though breasting
its tugging and pulling
by lying within it,
resting on its will.
Corridors are like tunnels –
turns to left, right, right, left –
the blue line I was told to follow
is one among several
and other people flow along different ones,
their footsteps tapping –
a white corridor with an electricbuzz
lies before me. I am tipped downhill
past a chapel with a cross on the door,
Oncology at the bottom
and still further on towards
More edges and corners
to a cul de sac –
the waiting room. Windowless.
Were it not for all the people waiting
the room would be empty.
We wait on the cushions
of our shadows. Our names
pull each one through the door alone.
Rebecca Gethin won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award with her first novel, Liar Dice, which was published in 2011. Her first poetry collection, River is the Plural of Rain, was published by Oversteps Books in 2009 and was followed by a second collection, A Handful of Water, with Cinnamon Press in 2013. What the Horses Heard is her latest novel and was published in May 2014. Her two latest collections are A Sprig of Rowan [Three Drops Press], and All the time in the world [ published in Feb 2017 :Cinnamon Press]
Last hospital post tomorrow. That’s definite.