George Unsettled 1916

The nurse,
whom George's parents hired,
begins to settle him down
in his room,
after his parents and Polly
had left.

Where is she?
George says.

Where is whom?
the nurse asks.

where is she?

The nurse is unsure
who Polly is,
so sits him
in a chair by the window,
which looks out
on the grounds and drive.

Is she your wife?
the nurse asks.

George looks at her:
I don't know,
maybe she is,
he says,
looking at the nurse puzzled:
who are you?

I am Nurse Willows,
sent you look after you,
she says.

Where's Polly?
he says.

I'll find out,
you relax and sit quiet,
the nurse says,
and leaves the room.

He stares out
of the window;
it is still,
no bombs are blowing up,
no bodies are out there
in trenches,
the trees are whole,
not splintered
and blown down.

He looks into the room:
Wilkes's head
lies on the floor
by the bed,
the eyes gazing
at him questioningly.

An explosion in his head
stirs him to jump
from the chair,
and run to the wall
where he stands shaking,
staring at the head.

Be careful Wilkes,
be careful,
he says.

He looks at his writing desk
large eyed,
a hand lies there,
palm upwards,
a finger bloodied
points towards him.

No no,
I can't,
he says.

He turns,
and the door opens,
and he shouts:

The nurse and Polly
stare at him,
then go to him.

Calm down,
the nurse says.

Polly takes his hand
and holds it:
it's all right George,
no one
will harm you here.

He looks at her childlike:
you are here.
he says,
and holds her
close to him.

The nurse looks
at them uncertain
what to say or do.

Has he a wife?
she asks.

No not yet,
Polly says,
looking at the nurse
over George's shoulder,
as he hugs her
tight to him.

The door opens
and George's mother
enters in:
what is the noise?

He is unsettled,
the nurse says,
and called for Polly,
so I got her
not knowing
who she was.

The mother goes
to George and Polly:
settle him Polly,
then get back
to your work.

Polly nods.

Come on,
his mother says,
you are home now,
time to rest.

George looks
at his mother
over Polly's shoulder:
who are you?
he asks.

I'm Mama,
she says.

He looks at Polly:
is she?
he says.

Polly nods:
yes George,
she is,
Polly says.

George turns away
from his mother,
and stares at Wilkes's head
on the floor by the bed,
the eyes gazing at him.

Get Wilkes's head
off the floor,
it can't stay there,
George says
pointing by the bed,
unable to get
the eyes gazing, out
of his mind and head.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Topic(s) of this poem: war memories

Delivering Poems Around The World

Poems are the property of their respective owners. All information has been reproduced here for educational and informational purposes to benefit site visitors, and is provided at no charge...

3/5/2021 5:00:23 PM #