You often see the ambulance round here
(the population’s getting old)
and things happen – usually at night.
You see their headlights swing into our road,
moving slowly till they find the house.
They go in quietly, without a fuss.
Ten minutes later and they’re out.
Wheelchair or stretcher ? You can guess
how serious it is. Doors thump shut.
I close the curtain.
It will come to all of us at last –
the pain that gnaws and can’t be talked away,
the bloodied sheet, the sudden, unexpected
loss of self.
I wonder, when it comes my turn,
if my neighbour, peeking through his blind,
will find some pity for me
within the selfish joy of his reprieve.
3 thoughts on “999”
a beautiful poem, Ian: as Jim Morrison said, No one gets out of here alive [ Morrison’s Hotel]. I’min that agge group too; and the cutting anguish of those last few lines
Thank you – I’m glad it struck a chord – even more powerful in this time of Covid.
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Indeed a verse that beautifully encapsulates our final reality.
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