For David Baker and David Gould 1990

David in Jerusalem

Beside your bed, a cupboard marked ‘David Baker’,
A former patient returned now to his maker,
From one side of the bed, a constant drip of saline,
Your lovely face is changed: how are the mighty fallen.
A nurse speaks in her own distinct vernacular,
Her task is re-positioning your cannula.
A fifteen second interval between each breath,
I count, as if in labour, but you toil for death.
You face the window and I view the scenery,
Thus turning my back on your bleak machinery.
I see ambulances, cars and the long, straight drive
Which leads back to a world where, strangely, people live.
Now the everyday can never be the same
And you lie in this room. Its cupboard bears a name:
‘David Baker.’ I’d like your own name to endure
But hospital furniture clearly lacks allure.
I call your name but death will not be over-ruled.
Where can I inscribe your name David, David Gould?

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