Ballad from a Hospital Bed

But out there,
beyond the curtain,
beyond the white starched
pine scrubbed corridors
love is a currency,
but in here, breath is:
breath and morphine.
For when love can fill the lungs
no longer, or shoot the red wine
of life through veins
that once got me drunk
as the blood orange sun fell
from crystal sky, or made me feel
like the missing piece
in a million bit jigsaw,
then breath will be all that’s left,
until even she fades
like the night from my bed side.

But, alas…..
We are born and we fall
within these white walls,
nature mothering our infant lips
past the first breaths
never free us from her breast
even when our ivory teeth
grow long like a summer
shadow, striping the ebony streets
like a zebra’s back.
That day returns,
when lamp posts, people, fences
turned from the sun,
to hide their dark places
from the light,
that morn when you let me sulk
then helped me out of bed
when my knees wobbled
and the skin crawled bleak
from my back.

I hold you close today,
through the roar of sirens
which steal silent reverie
as they cart another life
to the mortuary slab
via a white coat stethoscope
prancing from bed to ward
to bed with no patience of death
or beautiful words to break
news that the black wind signals,
like trumpets on battle field,
the final curtain call.
And I feel helpless
like Savanna cub who cowers
but is dumb to know
the jaws of seraphim predator
of concrete jungle
may yet kiss the pain away.

Paul Crompton is an itinerant soul moving from Norfolk to Brighton via the U.K.'s West Country. By day he writes for a business magazine and by night attends Brighton's many spoken word events. Read other articles by Paul.