I have just returned from two months stay in hospital. The cause was a mysterious and still undiagnosed infection that eventually led to heart problems.

A difficult and challenging experience. There was one vital outcome: immense respect for the doctors and nurses of the institutions that secured my recovery.

Ryde Hospital was where the ambulance took me at the beginning. The dedication of the doctors and nurses and other staff there was inspiring. So much so that during the treatment I wrote the attached poems in the many spare moments.

The next stage was surgery and recovery at North Shore Private Hospital. Once more I felt so lucky to be in the care of such committed doctors and nurses.

Finally came my twenty days at Royal Rehab Private Hospital in Ryde, where as before I was fortunate to receive caring and supportive medical and nursing support. You might say there I discovered that the world was not such a bad place after all. Memorable care and detailed attention were the ways of Royal Rehab. All this has led me home in good spirits. I hope the poems reveal truthfully some of my feelings in those three special places I have just left behind me.


The Poems


Dear patient spirit of kindness

Who understands my suffering

Your awareness is my peace of mind

You who feel my pain

With me not against me

Bring me the hope I need

When my world turns grey 

And disobedient

Yours is the beauty of compassion

For me

A troubled flower

In a garden of persistent despair

11 January  2020 

Reaching Out

Just beyond my reach

That bottle of water

An eternity of distance

Between it and my finger tips

As I lie incompetent

Reaching out

Amidst the frustration

And tyranny 

Of my hospital bed

ENTER NURSE: Can I help you?

Yes thank you

And in that moment of release

Far more than a desperate thirst ends

11 January  2020

My Thanks To The Team

(To the doctors who fought my illness)

Thank you for seeing me

As human

Not a category system

Linked to the normal curve

Thank you for checking

The fallibility of my body

In these recent times of stress

As I falter and fail

To do even the simplest of tasks

Like a bird grounded

With a broken wing

Your gentle hands

Are rain in a desert of helplessness

For me forever 

An instrument of peace

In a battlefield of pain and fever

15 January  2020


O the mind has gorges

Deep canyons of despair


By mountains of uncertainty

In this pitter patter of fear

As you wander through the fields of doubt

One thing stands alone

Enforcing endorsing raising new hope

It is the nurse’s care

Love of life for us all

Shared, spread gently

With tender expert hands

By those who understand

Thus the journey continues

Despite the pitfalls

In the winding road we tread

15 January  2020


Are you all right?

Have you any needs?

Tea or coffee?

How precious they are

These gentle wisps of caring

That filter through the fear 

And helpless trembling

Around my hospital bed

Love has may forms

One of which

Is the gentle wish

To help those in need

Dear friends who ask questions

Thank you

This little quivering soul of mine

Will go with you forever

17 January  2020

Words Of A Nurse

Your words are pertinent things

No nonsense stuff

Designed to ease my suffering

In a practical way

Kind but realistic

Taut but ever so gently

Dabbling ideas into my mind

In a way that will ease the pain

And prevent destruction

As I listen I feel my body

Bend towards the light

In an archway of recovery

18 January  2020

Being There

Thank you nurse for being there

Within my hospital ward

In those awkward moments

When the rest of the world 

Goes away

That leaves me like a fledgling

On an empty branch

About to fall

What am I required to do? I ask

Go here? Go there?

Try this? Try that?

Oh dear! I am a nothing

Tangled in uncertainty

A lost sheep

In a field that only vaguely exists

Until suddenly

You are there beside me

And I am saved

19 January  2020

Hospital Cleaner

Do you work every day


Thank you for the clean room

You leave me

That’s OK

And so she left me

That intense worker

Born in a foreign land

I had grown fond of her arrivals

During my several weeks stay 

In hospital

Her charm is her dedication

Such energy

Such value in her work

Yet of lowly status

She is my friend


19 January  2020


Isolation is a painful thing

Being out of reach of everyone

Is an agony of despair

That turns time into daggers

Of pain

Sharp instruments of torture

That delve into your mind

Relentlessly questioning

Your very existence

There is no peace

When nobody answers your call

You are infinitely alone

20 January  2020

One More Chance

Dear Doctor

Master of Wisdom

Humbly and with deep respect

I ask for one more chance

To test my own resources

Once more to show

That I am well enough to succeed

To stand alone unaided

Because I feel so well

And my spirit soars

To the heights of yes I can

As I stand before you

With the strength you have given me

To control my own destiny

21 January  2020


Kind people are

The pulse of the hospital

The bearers of food 

With their friendly greeting

The cleaning person 

Who says good day

The physio who takes you

On your extended journey

The any tea or coffee? person

Who is ever ready to please

The bed pusher

Who speeds you through corridors

With a constant smile

The wheelchair maneuverer

Who gets you there unerringly

And the doctors and nurses

Who ultimately

Keep the flames of human kindness

Flickering alive and well

22 January  2020

What Is Life?

Life is a flimsy thing

A pattern of deeds

Some worthy some trivial

Some replacing the errors

Of your bungling days

My thanks to the doctors

For treading gently 

Among my dreams

For understanding

The vulnerability of what I am

And for knowing 

So many ways of ending

The follies of my existence

26 January  2020


I wandered lonely as a crowd

Of patients in a waiting room

Through wards

With floors so bright and shiny

Gleaming with the diligence of their cleaners

I listened to the sounds of suffering

Softened by the labours of love

Abounding everywhere

In the gentle hands 

Of the friends of Hippocrates

Thus did I rid myself of fear

As I learned

That Death has no sting

In this Pantheon of Pity

28 January  2020

Frail Flowers

What frail flowers we are

Peeping up through the mists 

Of uncertainty

Amidst the soils of science

All that we are or do or think

Has a technical name

A consequence

Beyond our dreams or imagination

Pointing to our ultimate fate

With the iron fingers of truth

So Doctor translate for me

Tell me your tale of what I am

So that I will understand

And know through you

At least a small part

Of my destiny

29 January  2020

Alms For The Needy

It is such a lonely empty place

A hospital

When you are killing time

Waiting for things to happen

Longing for someone to talk to

To banish your agonies

O had I the omnipotence of dreams  

I would organise a company

Of players

Fully and systematically equipped

To visit and talk

Just to talk

With patients

A therapy of kindness

Alms for the needy

Such sweet tenderness of caring

That would lessen the harshness

Of the hours

And turn them into

Poems of peace

3 February 2020


___________________ xxx ___________________


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