The Farewell

The morning cleaners at the hospice want us gone,
There’s much to do today, bodies get in the way.

An obituarist waits in each of us to write away
the passing of a friend. These uniforms
are much dismayed at our extended stay;
your bed is wanted for a modern casualty.
He’s on his way.

Beyond the bright bleak panes
extends the mud, the saltings and the quay
at which there is a black and nameless liner
unmooring, turning in a fan of spray,
busy too, getting under way.

And you roll over, dragging the catheter,
a rasp in your throats tatter
signals all the farewell you need to say.

Roy Ashwell


Rough Passage by Alfred Wallis