Thursday, 11 December 2014


(with apologies to Patrick Kavanagh)

A year ago I failed to fall in love with a dysfunctional 
ward in a public hospital: the nurses overwrought, 
each task interrupted by more urgent ones, the low morale,
not counting how the fellow in the next bed roared all night
in vain for his wife and son, and every now and then
the overwhelming whiff of incontinence. The main gate
beckoning me to freedom or a quick cigarette
when I had to be content to sit in a smoke-free suntrap
beside the entrance door, the Sister’s allegation
that I falsely occupied an acute bed, and oh the ailments, crammed  
and ever-changing, that I lay among! I write this without claptrap
because there’s an awful lot of it about, disguised as sense
in the mouths of our government ministers who have named
my sad dysfunctional hospital a ‘Centre of Excellence’.

© Ciaran O’Driscoll 2014

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