Canto CCXLIV

The hospital gives me the chance to bring
the first noble truth into focus,
for all that breathe are also suffering,

but when I head outside to wait for the bus,
within the clammy streets of Camberwell,
it’s not long til I dump my mindfulness

and tell a stranger to go fuck themselves.

Canto CCXLIII

Outside the double glazed window, just across,
from where my baby girl snoozes away,
pumped full of milk and gripping my fingers,

the Power Station almost fades to grey,
within the week long, secular deluge.
I forget what it’s like to walk in rain—

the seven days we’ve spent under this roof.

Canto CCXXXIX

I ask myself if Plato ever spent
48 hours in an induction bay?
Sometimes we get the chance to reaquaint

ourselves with outer corridors where we
think of ourselves as being “outside”.
After midnight, when I finally

exit the hospital, I often find
a powerful sense of unreality
about the rain soaked pavements and the lines

of blossoming, yellow tinted trees
in sodium light. It’s easier to breathe
in this world, momentarily relieved

from all we’re yet to face inside our cave.

Canto CCXXXVIII

Labour hasn’t started, so we snatch
whatever sleep we can as hours stream
like fluids through a drip. I keep a watch

for midwives that appear like fleeting dreams
and vanish with the words “I’ll go find out…”
the curtains flutter, they never return.

Before I left at 4am last night,
I heard a newborn’s first cries down the hall.
Despite the rain that sputtered down outside,

the birds on every branch sang loud and shrill.
Right now, a blue partition cuts us off
from the Polish single-mum-to-be’s sad call

for doctors, birthing room and pain relief.
And you, my love, are somehow able to,
curl up against the chaos and drift off.

I self administer an espresso.

Canto CXCVII

Despite the countless little drafts of blood
or the research fellow’s vulturelike expression
as she pressed the ultrasonic hand piece hard

into your bladder; despite the frustration
of waiting for consultants to arrive,
letters that never reached their destination;

though Cathedrals command a boundless love
with opulent altars and huge commissions—
it is this hotchpotch hospital that proves

the true goodness of the human condition.

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