Saturday, 1 March 2014


Time is as long and cold as winter here,
bar clock stretching out
each clunking ticking second
as if it were life’s final hour,
There is eternities of silence;
a silence in which to contemplate,
be horrified, be puzzled by
why fate has dealt this cruel blow.

He lies there;
all eighteen stone plus of him,
lost beneath the sheets
as he tries to figure out the unfigurable,
his mind naught but a tangled mess.

Across there–
opposite our lonely frightened giant –
wheelchair accommodates another ragged doll,
left arm lolling over side as dead as hope. 
His right hand clicks on-off brake,
breaks silence,
giving rhythm to his ennui.

His son (who left oh he doesn’t know how long ago)
hears own footfalls splat on shiny floor,
wipes tears away from bleary reddened eyes,
wishes he could turn back that damn ticking clock; 
wishes he could erase his cruel jibes of yesterdays.

Our giant –
now so tiny as to be invisible
sinks into soothing nothings of inertia.

Across from the bay –
almost a million miles away –
the nurses/doctors write their notes,
chunter/chatter, live their lives
as their patients’ yearn, long for
welcome intimacy of spoon-fed slop
dribbling down their drooping mouths,
dream of friendly smiles and friendly words.

Until then,     invisible,
there is only the interminable ticking of the clock.

Anna :o]

Mary at dVerse has us writing of invisibility and my little effort is of observations made yesterday.

Of late I have been a bad girl and not visited, read or commented on everyone entries to dVerse’s excellent prompts, so in a sense I have been partly invisible... 

If I missed you - apologies – but sometimes real life gets in the way and must take priority.  Should be able to read all entries of this prompt – fingers crossed!

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons    
Author: Brakspear


Gabriella said...

Very powerful observations of this hospital ward, Anna! I like how you subtly reflect on the human and humane aspects behind the surface. We cannot remain indifferent in front of what you describe.

Claudia said...

it's tough...and in a way being in a different world already with borders that cannot be crossed... it's a frightening invisibility...

Mary said...

Another strong poem, Anna. I do think that so many in the wards of hospitals or nursing homes seem invisible. Those who had been large in life become oftentimes a very small presence, involved in simple tasks or needing help even with the basics. Behind the doors, they are invisible to many of us....and sad that perhaps the only intimacy that remains is the 'spoon-fed slop' and the like. And the clock ticks on, and one wonders sometime if this is the world we will all enter one time or another...or will we be some of the few to escape. Anna, your words and your presence are VERY visible.

Brian Miller said...

mmm pings the heart pretty hard....the remorse the son is feeling though it is better than just ignoring...ugh

i like the clicking of the break...ow that plays on the clock tick...and plays on the sons feelings....

Brian Miller said...

and sometimes life does get in the way...and its not about reading everyone even...because there are those that read no one...and i have begun to skip them...nothing malicious, but my family is more important than those that dont care...and i def dont think of you in that position anna...thanks for the note the other night...smiles.

Björn said...

Anna, this really points at a sad path for us all (?) the invisibility of elderly.. and partly it's been so always.. there are tales here in Sweden that the elderly were thrown from steep cliffs when they could no longer support anyone.. but this waiting is really even sadder to some extent..

Heaven said...

I like the way you captured the scene against the ticking clock ~ How sometimes we wish we can turn back the clock & erase the cruel jibes of yesterdays ~

Good one Anna ~


michaelt said...

I found this a compelling read Anna, that interminable ticking clock that runs through the poem creates a sense of foreboding and an understanding of pain not too far away.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Anna, you have captured the timelessness and invisibility of hospital patients so well - the nurses and doctors, who seem untouched, the endless clicking sound of the man clicking his brake on and off. Fantastic write!

Helena said...

You can really feel the vacancy in this piece, Anna. I'm quite in awe of it, actually.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the hospital ward is full of people, and yet, they are processed by a vast machine and become mere numbers, or so it would seem. Well observed.

Cressida de Nova said...

The hospital ward a depressing reality ...inevitable fate like a guillotine perched over all of us.I pray I die in my sleep in my own bed.

kaykuala said...

Once one is of no consequence to others, one gets ignored. One of many lingering and languishing alone but among a crowd of like persons. Hospital beds are perfect examples of invisibility. Powerful write Anna!


Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...


lynndiane said...

Wow, this evokes sympathy for the elderly "invisible" and the adult children who made that difficult decision of institutionalized care...go visit!!

^.^ said...

I work in health care ... and cringe every time a staff member sits there, coat on, hand bag over shoulder ... desperate to get off shift ... at almost shift change ... often wonder what my patients feel when they see that... I know it breaks MY heart ...

RMP said...

this is a haunting and unfortunately such a accurate depiction of invisibility.

Jenny Woolf said...

A wonderful piece of writing as usual Anna, and I very much hope things get easier for you soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna--a very effective piece-- agh. Sad. The chunter/chatter - that sense of the nurses having to live their lives--of course it has to and should be that way, but so difficult. k.

Orange UaPoet said...

What a tortuous read for those of us who have had loved ones endure those nights and days in those institutionalized beds in sterile rooms, and those ticks like pricks of the clock. Powerful write, well done.

Tigerbrite said...

Very poignant dear Anna. So sad this suffering.

HA said...

The thing that struck me the most was the invisibility of the actions of interminable time and the silence that prevails within its sphere. Once a giant becomes so frail and the relationships change, people change.

A grim prospect... tenderly portrayed in your words.
I also found the contrast towards the end intriguing. Great writing.

Frances Garrood said...

Brilliant, Anna!

Abhra said...

I can relate to what you have portrayed in here - last year my father wasn't well and we had to rush him to hospital again and again.

Understand how life can be busy - take care.

Anonymous said...

this reminds me how others affirm us, and how quickly we become lost when we cannot march or dance.

Anonymous said...

this reminds me how others affirm us, and how quickly we become lost when we cannot march or dance.

Jenny Woolf said...

I am sorry that life is so hard Anna. Your voice comes out from the wilderness to us.