Posted in Death


Time shifts extending and renouncing favour
new order dismisses the old
what was influential can become obsolete
the insignificant ascends to influence.
Before reliable contraception and enlightened thinking
women faced brief and brutal career choices
teaching, nursing or domestic service
all passport to punitive grind.

Technology and egalitarianism
made domestic service extinct
education and health care have prospered
elevated from barely skilled to smart degrees.
Nursing goes to college. What would Nightingale think?

For pretty young women in private hospitals
instant admission to the middle class
unfamiliar to some
status. Income. A nice workplace. Very nice.
Susie, Sharon, Kate. My fair Ladies
the table the new present
betrayed their practised past.
At functions, Christmas, retirement, unveilings
food is rapaciously snatched
unmindful of rationing’s parameters, price and quantity.
Lunchtime conversation dual tasking
eating and talking – simultaneously.

Service staff exist for their convenience
and condescension.
Suppressed backchat to difficult patients
unleashed on cleaners and food workers.

They were so young
carefree, uncritical of beliefs and self
life a pleasure craft yacht
yet to know angry waters.

They must be in their 40’s now
perhaps the winter squalls of time
of infidelity, of foreclosure, of thwarted ambition
lessen self entitlement and broaden tolerance.
Or warm summer currents
of marriage, of children, of dreams attained
ease contentment into middle class berth
leaving working class slipway with nothing to prove.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.