Diane Hine

Silver Star - 4,143 Points (25 July 1956)

Ribs - Poem by Diane Hine

Bones with a sense of humour, ribs are jolly.
They jiggle up and down when we laugh, like a stack
of crazy smiles. Lungs are pink and pampered.
The ribs cradle them, the diaphragm dandles them.
And ribs are springy guardians, tough but giving,
and very protective.

My dad detrained at Lewisham.
Where from exactly? I don’t know. Possibly the
electric train’s ninth coach, ramped over the eighth,
or the jammed seventh, or the eviscerated eighth.
Or one of the three steam train coaches,
crumpled under the fallen bridge.

The important thing is, he left nothing behind.
Well, maybe his glasses, or a hat. It was cold
and foggy, and men still wore hats in 1957.
I mean he left no body parts behind. He was hurt,
but probably looked pretty good, these things
being decided by comparison.

A fireman hefted him over his shoulder.
My dad’s skinny frame must have flopped obligingly
around the fireman’s neck like a warm shawl.
His cracked ribs gave way. They ceded to the
authority of a regulation ‘fireman’s carry’.
They yielded and, with nowhere else to go,

slumped into his cushiony lungs.
My dad’s ribs let his lungs down. If that weren’t
such a lousy joke, they might have smiled.

Topic(s) of this poem: death


Comments about Ribs by Diane Hine

  • Bri Edwards (6/15/2016 11:10:00 PM)


    i can't understand Valsa's suggestion that your dad may have done an act to cause his injuries. come on Valsa!

    and, yes it could have been 'made up', a figment of your imagination, but i doubt itl
    and, you DO seem to use a hint of humour at the ending.

    if it is a real story of your dad (and as the topic is death) , i guess you never really 'knew dad'. too bad, another guess.

    are YOU still alive and kicking? you needn't answer if you have 'passed on', but you may if you can.

    just a voice or throw in your ghost if you can.

    bri :)
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  • Valsa George (3/8/2015 5:38:00 AM)


    My dad’s skinny frame must have flopped obligingly
    around the fireman’s neck like a warm shawl........

    Was it an accident or a deliberate act by your Dad....? I cannot decide for myself, if it is real or just a figment of your imagination! I feel so moved by your Dad's plight! May be with years, you can see it in your usual humorous vein!
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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 5, 2015



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