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4 old ladies, sleeping in the ward,
I wait for mum to wake; a bored
Doctor asks a nurse if Swindon
Are playing today.
She tells him, “Doncaster, away.”
Mum wakes up and I hold her hand,
Then Nora awakes and sobs as she struggles to stand,
Singing “I’ll be loving you, always,
With a heart that’s true, always
Not for just a day. Not for just a year.
Not for just a week. But always.”
Then breaks down, “Nobody comes to see me.
I wish I was dead. I’m so unhappy.
I was going to throw myself out the window, I was.
But you know me. I don’t like to make a fuss.”
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The nurse shows Nora her exercise book,
Where each day’s events can be looked
At and remembered and I hear her say
“See, look Nora your son came yesterday,
He comes to see you everyday.”
Nora smiles and so does Dorothy.
She’s just finished her cold milky tea
And is having her hair done,
In a style that she liked when she was young.
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So now the only person all alone
Is the tiny woman who’s all skin and bone,
Sleeping quietly in her chair,
Oblivious to the way that we now share
Conversation, laughs and chat.
“You’re a lucky woman to have a son like that.
I wish mine would come and see me.
But he’s after my pension and my money.
If you ask me.
Which you won’t. Nobody does.
But I don’t like to make a fuss.
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“And you’re a lovely woman too, Nora.”
They laugh together, young again,
Just like flappers way back when
All the boys would whistle and stare
When mum and Nora would stand and dare
The would be dancers to ask them out.
But now that confidence is replaced by doubt
And abrupt melancholic silence.
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I give mum a poster-poem collage for her bedside,
Words and pictures for her memory to ride
Her off to sleep and dreams and a happy time
Until she wakes again when the dinner trolley arrives.