by Godfrey Mutiso Gorry

Weak but alive
dying yet still alive
huge eyes
round like golf balls
white as bones
Bony framed
Pus in orifices
teeth, white teethPieta by Sam Jinks
skull and bones.
Am sorry for life
Oh this pain deeper than
Only death can save
My friend, I am sorry
That you pain
When you sleep, wake
Pain, blindness
Damn anguish – no thoughts emerge
When engulfed by pain
Such heart is dead
Am sorry;
Oh this life! A taboo
You will die so
Potstones thrown
In the garden of death.
The nurse is no artist
A greater artist has shown the nurse
An art of degeneration
A human form sculptured
By an ailment of our time
A thousand diseases in one.
And then these sufferings
There will be no heaven here…
Can’t eat – wounds in mouth
Cant pee – balls on fire
Weak and dizzy
As thin as bones – is bones
Skin and foul air
Do not pity-
There will be no heaven here
A body ravaged beyond …
When looking for hell
You will find it here.

Old People’s Home

Old People’s Home

W.H. Auden

All are limitory, but each has her own
nuance of damage. The elite can dress and decent themselves,
are ambulant with a single stick, adroitcouple
to read a book all through, or play the slow movements of
easy sonatas. (Yet, perhaps, their very
carnal freedom is their spirit’s bane: intelligent
of what has happened and why, they are obnoxious
to a glum beyond tears.) Then come those on wheels, the average
majority, who endure T.V. and, led by
lenient therapists, do community singing, then
the loners, muttering in limbo, and last
the terminally incompetent, as impeccable,
improvident, unspeakable as the plants
they parody. (Plants may sweat profusely but never
sully themselves.) One tie, though, unites them: all
appeared when the world, though much was awry there, was more
spacious, more comely to look at, its Old Ones
with an audience and secular station. (Then a child,
in dismay with Mamma, could refuge with Gran
to be revalued and told a story.) As of now,
we all know what to expect, but their generation
is the first to fade like this, not at home but assigned
to a numbered frequent ward, stowed out of conscience
as unpopular luggage.
As I ride the subway
to spend half-an-hour with one, I revisage
who she was in the pomp and sumpture of her hey-day,
when week-end visits were a presumptive joy,
not a good work. Am I cold to wish for a speedy
painless dormition, pray, as I know she prays,
that God or Nature will abrupt her earthly function?