William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

Operation - Poem by William Ernest Henley

You are carried in a basket,
Like a carcase from the shambles,
To the theatre, a cockpit
Where they stretch you on a table.

Then they bid you close your eyelids,
And they mask you with a napkin,
And the anaesthetic reaches
Hot and subtle through your being.

And you gasp and reel and shudder
In a rushing, swaying rapture,
While the voices at your elbow
Fade-receding-fainter-farther.

Li ghts about you shower and tumble,
And your blood seems crystallising -
Edged and vibrant, yet within you
Racked and hurried back and forward.

Then the lights grow fast and furious,
And you hear a noise of waters,
And you wrestle, blind and dizzy,
In an agony of effort,

Till a sudden lull accepts you,
And you sound an utter darkness . . .
And awaken . . . with a struggle . . .
On a hushed, attentive audience.


Comments about Operation by William Ernest Henley

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (8/17/2017 12:34:00 PM)


    A hospital scenario that sends a chill into the spine. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rajnish Manga (8/17/2017 12:05:00 PM)


    The atmosphere of an operation theatre as well as various activities being carried out or going on nicely re-created. The poet's observation and poetic representation is highly commendable. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/17/2017 11:43:00 AM)


    In a basket! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (8/17/2017 7:26:00 AM)


    Seems so real as if taken straight from an operation theater. Enjoyed. So nice. (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (8/17/2017 5:12:00 AM)


    Considering that his dates are from the late 19th century he's lucky he even experienced the benefit of being anesthetized before being operated on. And that he survived to write about it. (Report) Reply

    Robert Murray Smith Robert Murray Smith (8/17/2017 7:28:00 PM)

    I thought that as well.

  • Robert Murray Smith (8/17/2017 1:10:00 AM)


    One wonders whether this poet has experienced an operation. (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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