The Doctor Poem by A. P. Herbert

The Doctor

The doctor took my shirt away;
He did it for the best;
He said, 'It's very cold today,'
And took away my vest;
Then, having nothing more to say,
He hit me in the chest.
Oh, he did clout my ribs about
Till I was bruised and red,
Then stood and listened to my spine
To see if I was dead,
And when I shouted 'Ninety-nine!'
He simply shook his head.
He rather thought that rain would fall,
He made me hop about the hall,
And savagely he said,
'There's nothing wrong with you at all
You'd better go to bed!

'Oh you must eat no scrap of meat,
No rabbit, bird, or fish;
Apart from that have what you please,
But no potato, bread, or cheese;
Not butter, alcohol, or peas;
Not sausage, egg, and ratafias
A very starchy dish;
Have any other foods but these
But at and after every meal,
And twice an hour between,
Take this — and this — and this — and THIS
In water and quinine,
And wash it down with liquorice
And nitro-glycerine.

'You must not smoke, or read a book,
You must not eat or drink;
You must not bicycle or run,
You must not talk to anyone;
It's better not to think.
A daily bath I don't advise;
It's dangerous to snore;
But let your life be otherwise
As active as before.
And don't imagine you are ill,
I beg you not to mope;
There's nothing wrong with you — but still,
While there is life, there's hope.'

I woke and screamed a hideous scream
As greedy children do
Who eat too much vanilla cream
For I was having 'flu;
And it was just an awful dream
But, all the same, it's true.

A. P. Herbert

A. P. Herbert

Ashtead, Surrey
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