Room Service

by Nick Rice

We have no stretcher cases here, nor sirens, shrieking
emergency and blood. Infirmity arrives sedately,
wearing no bandages, for the bleeding stopped long
ago. Now there is only scar-tissue, the site
of ancient battle-grounds whose origins
no-one remembers.

There are no visible fractures and we have not the technology
to mend the cracks that widen between reality and dream
Sometimes we are your children, given boiled sweets,
asked questions which we have no time to answer.
Sometimes your mothers; you are pettish, querulous,
needing love

and we offer you bedsocks and barley water, air cushions,
laxatives and Benger’s Food. We rub backs and tauten
draw-sheets, empty commodes and fill hot water bottles,
check temperature and pulse. Linen snaps and crackles
on the line, junket cools on larder shelves; our world
revolves

to the rhythm of your hot-house rooms, the chronology
of senescence- twilit world, crepuscular, as though
the time were always evening, the season perpetual November.
See how our shadows slide before us, down long corridors
where carpet digests our footsteps. Listen
at half-open doors

to the conversation of curtain-rings, the gas-fire
whispering. Here is your supper tray. Let us rally
recalcitrant pillows, light lamps, turn the flame higher,
keeping back the dark. That is what we are good at, though
we know, as you in your brief moments of clarity know also,
that we are

all guilty,  we are all partners in a grand conspiracy
of silence, for the small hours are hurrying towards us when currents run sluggish and the pulse ebbs. That is polar
night out there that pushes at the windows. It is quite
star-proof. It will exhaust our feeble candle-power. But not
tonight- not yet.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

Tweets @PoetrySociety

To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the poet W. S. Graham here is a special selection of images and quotations that celebrate his life and work faber.co.uk/blog/celebrati… #wsg100 #WSGraham Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Who is your most recent poetry discovery? Can be young, old, dead, alive, or all of the above...

Poet Laureate result (of our poll) includes 44% who say YES 25% who say 'only if it's me'.

test Twitter Media - Poet Laureate result (of our poll)

includes 44% who say YES
25% who say 'only if it's me'. https://t.co/byYWWFLRRx

Written your poems? Want someone to have a professional peek-see? Booking now for 1-1 feedback on your poems with @gosspoems at @PoetrySociety Poetry Cafe - Friday Jan 18 - one WHOLE hour! poetrysociety.org.uk/event/gossjan/

test Twitter Media - Written your poems? Want someone to have a professional peek-see? Booking now for 1-1 feedback on your poems with @gosspoems at @PoetrySociety Poetry Cafe - Friday Jan 18 - one WHOLE hour! 

https://t.co/WnqudiaGZT https://t.co/aoD214U7we

🍾 Congratulations to @PoetrySociety Member @pippalittle1 who has won this year’s @CarersUK poetry competition, judged by @cherylmoskowitz. @PoetrySociety Member Nicky Phillips was joint 3rd poetrysociety.org.uk/news/carersuk/

test Twitter Media - 🍾 Congratulations to @PoetrySociety Member @pippalittle1 who has won this  year’s @CarersUK poetry competition, judged by @cherylmoskowitz. @PoetrySociety Member Nicky Phillips was joint 3rd 

https://t.co/AAWAkWtfsh https://t.co/Kjg4aWoNoE

This Wednesday 5.30-7.30pm, free & open to all! Come hear fab poets Khairani Barokka (@mailbykite), Hannah Lowe, & Vidyan Ravinthiran discuss the process of writing a 2nd collection, introduced by me: open.ac.uk/arts/research/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Hey @samsax1 London’s glad you’re here! Thanks for hanging out with our SLAMbassadors tonight. Looking forward to yr gig @kingsplace tmorrow twitter.com/samsax1/status…

"A mic carries the voices of everyone who's ever spoken into it. It's a torch, a baton." We hear about the history of #SLAMbassadors and Joelle introduces former SLAM winner Ollie O'Neill whose poems explore hard times and psychiatrists... Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Wow! Fantastic SLAMbassadors showcase at King’s Place. Thanks to all our amazing young poets and the love and talent of @JTaylorTrash

test Twitter Media - Wow! Fantastic SLAMbassadors showcase at King’s Place. Thanks to all our amazing young poets and the love and talent of @JTaylorTrash https://t.co/of2IEpzsgv
test Twitter Media - Wow! Fantastic SLAMbassadors showcase at King’s Place. Thanks to all our amazing young poets and the love and talent of @JTaylorTrash https://t.co/of2IEpzsgv