I have been thinking about what metaphors I use to describe my writing life, and this poem strikes me as one of those amazing turning points, where we realize how much we have to be grateful for.
The Soho Hospital for Woman (IV)
I am out in the supermarket choosing –
this very afternoon, this day –
picking up tomatoes, cheese, bread,
things I want and shall be using
to make myself a meal, while they
eat their stodgy suppers in bed:
Janet with her big freckled breasts,
her prim Scots voice, her one friend,
and never in hospital before,
who came in to have a few tests
and now can’t see where they’ll end;
and Coral by the bed by the door
who whimpered and gasped behind a screen
with nurses to and fro all night
and far too much of the day;
pallid, bewildered, nineteen.
And Mary, who will be all right
but gradually. And Alice, who may.
Whereas I stand almost intact,
giddy with freedom, not with pain.
I lift my light basket, observing
how little I needed in fact;
and move to the…
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