The Cottage Hospital

The poem below is the response to a recent writing group challenge, ‘write one poem to the tune of another’.

My source was John Betjeman’s “The Cottage Hospital”; my response a kind of WK Auden / Dylan Thomas mash-up. Far from perfect, but here it is…

The Cottage Hospital

Beyond municipal green, a maudlin wall
splits boisterous park from red-brick castle-tall

muddling town. Here under viridian trees
Sunday-roasting families hope still for breeze

as small uncorked children gallivant and try
to mimic the zig-zag of a mazy fly

as blindly it falls prey to a spider’s weave.
No slow calypso mourning song sung to grieve

for such insignificance, no rescue call
made to squat and timid cottage hospital

where unanswered phones echo the parquet’d oak
while patients bereft of navigation soak

in sweat behind antiseptic pastel screens.
Matron knows that my fate too will go unseen,

faint rasping groans of the cemetery-bound
inconsequential. She dreams herself unwound

there beneath full fruit trees as wasps and aphids
fly-on serenaded by the life-filled kids.