He is sitting with a rug across his lap
He is rather more
Like a memory of himself now;
A happier memory I’ve held of him
In his indominatable day
When his time should have stood still
And when he really should have died
He struggles to find the words
Which elude him
Words which without a thought
He would have sold and bought
Without an instants hesitation
The biggest properties in town
I remember him in his thigh waders
Storming his way through thicket, furze
Copses and bracken
A powering force ; shotgun broken ;
Chasing his dog who is set on a bird and
I as a boy chasing . palpitating him in expectation .
A pheasent bursting high from the beech trees
Thunder through the crisp Novemember air
He tries to recall something now
As his hand trembles
And he reaches out for something
That was never on his desk.
That desk that’s neatly reorganised each day
As if the countless things to do
Scrawled each morning on his calendar
Are so pressing .
We talk and he tells me he doesn’t like to waste too much time
Talking to the countless people he has to meet
So I can have a half hour of his time ,
But only that.
We make plans for a fishing trip
But we’ve made these this week and last
And each week I’ve called since Christmas
And he tells me he’ll give out to me if I stand up in the boat
Or if I break the line on a snipe shoot
He ell never take me out again.
He throws his pen down on the desk
As if in anger , chiding me ,
As he did forty years ago or more.
The bell rings
An elder nurse comes in
Smiles says how well he’s been today
- Aren’t you now Jimmy.
She pats his head as if he were an obedient dog
She sighs with her eyebrows to me .
She wheels his desk away
And tells him it’s time for his injection.
And then time for bed.
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