UKArchive ID: 35786

The herb of kindness
by shadow
Originally published on November 13, 2015 in Poetry    

Night thoughts in hospital

The cow of night chews on the stubborn cud
Of bitter herbs, on sorrel, wormwood, rue.
Is there a herb for kindness? In the dark
I lie. Pansies for thoughts. Through my brain
They buzz and churn. Rosemary perhaps
To summon happy memories, but when I close
My eyes, my bed detaches from its moorings, quits
The ward, to slide unleashed through endless corridors
Of walls which bulge and glisten, like a tour
Through my own intestine. Then, looming before me,
I see her. Vast, misshapen, faceless, robed in bile,
Nausea grips me in her vile embrace. I gag,
My eyes spring open to the dark. All movement stills.
Hold on – to the joy of marjoram, basil’s good wishes,
The courage and strength of thyme. Till at last
The endless night grows thin, sky paling. On a breeze
Of morning, sweetness steals into the room,
I scent the herb of kindness – as she promised
Lisa enters, bearing mint tea.

© shadow (shadow on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 35786
Archived comments for The herb of kindness

gwirionedd on 13-11-2015
The herb of kindness
Sounds more like magic mushrooms to me than anything else…

Author’s Reply:
I think it may have been an after effect of the anaesthetic – very weird anyway. Thanks for comment.

sweetwater on 14-11-2015
The herb of kindness
I found this to be a real joy to read it took me all over the place at the mention of each herb, country gardens, lane verges, woodland and field. I also saw the grisly parts of the tour but the destination with added tea was a perfect ending. 🙂 Sue.

Author’s Reply:
Well, it wasn't much fun at the time, but the tea was nice. Glad you enjoyed it.

Elfstone on 14-11-2015
The herb of kindness
This is very good and I can attest to the weird effects of (too much) anaesthetic! If I may (and it is just an opinion) I think presenting it in a block as you've done is not doing it justice. I think a different layout would enhance the poem and it's worth it!


Author’s Reply:
Horrible isn't it? Left me feeling sick for days. Thanks for comment – I might experiment, break it up a bit as you suggest.

Mikeverdi on 15-11-2015
The herb of kindness
Agree with Elf, I think the piece would benefit from a different layout. You express the feelings well, the jumbled feeling of the current format could read better, although, maybe that's how you wanted it?


Author’s Reply:
Certainly I felt a bit jumbled at the time. I'll have a think about the layout. Thanks for commenting.

Gothicman on 15-11-2015
The herb of kindness
Yes, I can imagine all these impressions going on in a half awake, half-dreaming mind in the hospital situation, lying there, heavily anaesthetised, extreme (sick) bodily-sensation focused with images and odours. I like the fresh morning resolution contrast back to pleasant reality and friendly face. I think the layout works like it is, because it keeps it all contained in a delirious confusion of recovery during one night. I think this good enough for nomination.

Author’s Reply:
Thanks very much for your kind comments – and for the nom (I assume that was you!)