Dannie Abse

(1923 - 2014 / Cardiff / United Kingdom)

In the Theatre - Poem by Dannie Abse

Sister saying—‘Soon you'll be back in the ward,'
sister thinking—‘Only two more on the list,'
the patient saying—‘Thank you, I feel fine';
small voices, small lies, nothing untoward,
though, soon, he would blink again and again
because of the fingers of Lambert Rogers,
rash as a blind man's, inside his soft brain.

If items of horror can make a man laugh
then laugh at this: one hour later, the growth
still undiscovered, ticking its own wild time;
more brain mashed because of the probe's braille path;
Lambert Rogers desperate, fingering still;
his dresser thinking, ‘Christ! Two more on the list,
a cisternal puncture and a neural cyst.'

Then, suddenly, the cracked record in the brain,
a ventriloquist voice that cried, ‘You sod,
leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone,'—
the patient's dummy lips moving to that refrain,
the patient's eyes too wide. And, shocked,
Lambert Rogers drawing out the probe
with nurses, students, sister, petrified.

‘Leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone,'
that voice so arctic and that cry so odd
had nowhere else to go—till the antique
gramophone wound down and the words began
to blur and slow, ‘ … leave … my … soul … alone … '
to cease at last when something other died.
And silence matched the silence under snow.

Comments about In the Theatre by Dannie Abse

  • (10/28/2017 9:17:00 PM)

    A rare subject to touch. Clinical accounts are vividly presented. Excellent write. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/28/2017 6:48:00 PM)

    Such an interesting poem by Dannie Abse..... (Report) Reply

  • Rae Seagull (10/28/2017 3:29:00 PM)

    Superbly penned. Surgery gone wrong and his time runs out...
    Congratulations on Poem of the Day, Dannie. Truly well deserved.
    (Report) Reply

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (10/28/2017 11:36:00 AM)

    A chill runs through the spine as you read the poem of sickness, hospitals, doctors and nurses.
    How the body leaves the soul is a painful experience, so well portrayed through this poignant poem.
    Congratulations Dannie.
    (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (10/28/2017 10:13:00 AM)

    A great write, thanks for sharing it.
    10+++ for it.
    (Report) Reply

  • Jeanette Telusma (10/28/2017 7:36:00 AM)

    Outstanding write and very well expressed. (Report) Reply

  • Alina Kaikeyi (10/28/2017 6:11:00 AM)

    Beautifully penned. Thanks for sharing.

    Leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone, '
    that voice so arctic and that cry so odd
    had nowhere else to go—till the antique
    gramophone wound down and the words began

    10 for it.
    (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/28/2017 4:18:00 AM)

    Matched the silence under snow! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (10/28/2017 2:07:00 AM)

    Beautifully composed poem. It is happy to be choosen as the poem of the day. (Report) Reply

  • Madathil Rajendran Nair (10/28/2016 10:15:00 PM)

    A shockingly poignant write on a gruesome surgical procedure. This unsettles the reader and impels him to ponder the horror patients are subjected to. Save my soul. (10) (Report) Reply

  • (10/28/2016 5:38:00 AM)

    A brilliantly envisioned thought provoking profound poem. Congrats on the modern poem of the Day. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (10/28/2016 5:33:00 AM)

    To think of such a rare subject to write a poem is itself great... and truly the poem has resulted in a great work- 10 (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (10/28/2016 5:26:00 AM)

    In the theatre of life! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Bisy Untan (10/28/2016 2:23:00 AM)

    I enjoyed the feelings conveyed. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (10/28/2016 1:52:00 AM)

    Nice.. congrats for being selected.... (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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