The Hospital Window Poem by James Dickey

The Hospital Window

Rating: 3.4

I have just come down from my father.
Higher and higher he lies
Above me in a blue light
Shed by a tinted window.
I drop through six white floors
And then step out onto pavement.

Still feeling my father ascend,
I start to cross the firm street,
My shoulder blades shining with all
The glass the huge building can raise.
Now I must turn round and face it,
And know his one pane from the others.

Each window possesses the sun
As though it burned there on a wick.
I wave, like a man catching fire.
All the deep-dyed windowpanes flash,
And, behind them, all the white rooms
They turn to the color of Heaven.

Ceremoniously, gravely, and weakly,
Dozens of pale hands are waving
Back, from inside their flames.
Yet one pure pane among these
Is the bright, erased blankness of nothing.
I know that my father is there,

In the shape of his death still living.
The traffic increases around me
Like a madness called down on my head.
The horns blast at me like shotguns,
And drivers lean out, driven crazy—
But now my propped-up father

Lifts his arm out of stillness at last.
The light from the window strikes me
And I turn as blue as a soul,
As the moment when I was born.
I am not afraid for my father—
Look! He is grinning; he is not

Afraid for my life, either,
As the wild engines stand at my knees
Shredding their gears and roaring,
And I hold each car in its place
For miles, inciting its horn
To blow down the walls of the world

That the dying may float without fear
In the bold blue gaze of my father.
Slowly I move to the sidewalk
With my pin-tingling hand half dead
At the end of my bloodless arm.
I carry it off in amazement,

High, still higher, still waving,
My recognized face fully mortal,
Yet not; not at all, in the pale,
Drained, otherworldly, stricken,
Created hue of stained glass.
I have just come down from my father.

Michael Morgan 14 August 2016

A great poem. A brave correction of mis-perception. MM

0 0 Reply
Barry Middleton 14 August 2016

A wonderful tribute to his father and to the isolation and grief of the death of a parent.

0 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 14 August 2016

Higher and higher he lies! ! Thanks for sharing.

1 0 Reply
M Asim Nehal 26 June 2016

In hope to take him back to home, your poem can be interpreted in many ways as you leave the hospital leaving your father and trying to catch up with the world so busy and full with life, running on fast lanes to reach where only they know, for you the world revolves around the hospital window where your ailing father is struggling to survive another day.

2 0 Reply
Brian Jani 07 July 2014

brilliant poetry here.this poem paints a clear image in the readers mind.

1 0 Reply
James Dickey

James Dickey

Atlanta, Georgia
Error Success