wordsout by Godfrey Rust collection  Poems I'd like to have written    home


Geriatric
by R S Thomas

What god is proud
      of this garden
of dead flowers, this underwater
      grotto of humanity,
where limbs wave in invisible
      currents, faces drooping
on dry stalks, voices clawing
      in a last desperate effort
to retain hold? Despite withered
      petals, I recognise
the species: Charcot, Meniere,
      Alzheimer. There are no gardeners
here, caretakers only
      of reason overgrown
by confusion. This body once,
      when it was in bud,
opened to love's kisses. These eyes,
      cloudy with rheum,
were clear pebbles that love's rivulet
      hurried over. Is this
the best Rabbi Ben Ezra
      promised? I come away
comforting myself, as I can,
      that there is another
garden, all dew and fragrance,
      and that these are the brambles
about it we are caught in,
      a sacrifice prepared
by a torn god to a love fiercer
      than we can understand.