Dannie Abse

(1923 - 2014 / Cardiff / United Kingdom)

In the Theatre - Poem by Dannie Abse

Sister saying—‘Soon you'll be back in the ward,'
sister thinking—‘Only two more on the list,'
the patient saying—‘Thank you, I feel fine';
small voices, small lies, nothing untoward,
though, soon, he would blink again and again
because of the fingers of Lambert Rogers,
rash as a blind man's, inside his soft brain.

If items of horror can make a man laugh
then laugh at this: one hour later, the growth
still undiscovered, ticking its own wild time;
more brain mashed because of the probe's braille path;
Lambert Rogers desperate, fingering still;
his dresser thinking, ‘Christ! Two more on the list,
a cisternal puncture and a neural cyst.'

Then, suddenly, the cracked record in the brain,
a ventriloquist voice that cried, ‘You sod,
leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone,'—
the patient's dummy lips moving to that refrain,
the patient's eyes too wide. And, shocked,
Lambert Rogers drawing out the probe
with nurses, students, sister, petrified.

‘Leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone,'
that voice so arctic and that cry so odd
had nowhere else to go—till the antique
gramophone wound down and the words began
to blur and slow, ‘ … leave … my … soul … alone … '
to cease at last when something other died.
And silence matched the silence under snow.


Comments about In the Theatre by Dannie Abse

  • Madathil Rajendran Nair (10/28/2016 10:15:00 PM)


    A shockingly poignant write on a gruesome surgical procedure. This unsettles the reader and impels him to ponder the horror patients are subjected to. Save my soul. (10) (Report) Reply

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  • (10/28/2016 5:38:00 AM)


    A brilliantly envisioned thought provoking profound poem. Congrats on the modern poem of the Day. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (10/28/2016 5:33:00 AM)


    To think of such a rare subject to write a poem is itself great... and truly the poem has resulted in a great work- 10 (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/28/2016 5:26:00 AM)

    Earth
    In the theatre of life! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Bisy Untan (10/28/2016 2:23:00 AM)


    I enjoyed the feelings conveyed. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/28/2016 1:52:00 AM)


    Nice.. congrats for being selected.... (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 29, 2016


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