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Terry Collett


Long Ago Talk


Mr Bedlows
showed you around
the old folk’s home
the day had begun

at the new job
the smell of urine
and old age
drifted by the nostrils

the dimly lit passageway
he opened a door
morning Mr Grigg
morning Mr Mash

he said
to the old men
sitting on beds
then off

you both went again
more doors opened
other old men
welcomed

downstairs and up
the passageways
like circles
of Dante’s Hell

the old men gazed
at you as you entered
their aged eyes
followed you

about their room
you the young guy
the wet-behind- the-ears
young thing

they’d seen wars
fought in trenches
seen men killed
blown apart

mind damaged
body’s crippled
soul’s laid bare
smoke and death

in the air
I’ll leave you with Sidney
Mr Bedlows said
and went closing the door

trapping you
with smell and age
and Sidney’s stare
half hour later

having cleaned him up
and washed and dried
and clothed him neat
you set him on his way

with walking frame
and slow pace
for him
another dreary day

for you the beginning
the other men
to coax
or dress

or wash
or comb the hair
or set them
on their walk

with old timers
chatter
or idle
long ago talk.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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