Anaesthetic & Old Lace

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mrs Helen Mead recalls during 1952, at the age of five years, looking across the valley from a window at the family home at Bushy Park, Wainfelin. A place from which you would get a clear view of the impressive, almost castle-like, structure of Pontypool Hospital.
‘In those days children were not allowed to visit. My Grandmother, whose house it was, was receiving treatment at the hospital. In order to let us know she was okay she would wave a white handkerchief in a certain window at a specified time. My mother and I would look out across the valley for the signal, sometimes my older brother Fred would join us.
‘Whenever I hear Pontypool Hospital mentioned, it’s emotional on two counts really - the memories of a lovely lady, and the loss of a lovely old building.’

Submitted: November 30, 2008

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Submitted: November 30, 2008

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Anaesthetic and old lace

Separated by the valley and archaic rules

A lady reaches out an arm

To put at ease the eagle-eyed – watching o’er the family jewels

With a wave, of white linen and lace

Appear several ‘chicks’ with smiles upon their face

“Grandma is well”

Memories of a greying mind

Of grey imposing walls on a hill

A castle-like presence – protecting the weak, vulnerable and ill

Another lost piece of history, along with the mines and Japanware

We wonder of our council

“Did you really care?”

After all the sacrifices and efforts to build its walls

The fairs, bazaars and charitable windfalls

The penny-a-week contributions that were dug out of the ground

The blood, the sweat, and the strain, to gain that extra pound

And only for future generations to raze it to the ground

“Does anybody care?”

But they cared within those walls

For decade after decade

Comforting those that were to be lost, but loved

And aiding recovery for those they saved

How ironic that it ended, with another arm raised

White linen, a flag, waved

Stephen Lurvey 2002


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