Cherry Blossom

Blossoms are out on the trees, on the trees
at the Medway Maritime Hospital
With their elegant shapes and their heady perfumes,
they colour the morning air.
Springtime has come to the alleys and lanes
criss-crossed at the back of the hospital,
Flowering cherry and crab apple sleeving
the branches so lately bare.

Doctors from Africa, scarfed in their stethoscopes,
stride up the paths to the hospital,
A fluttering, chattering scatter of birds
is disturbed by a hospital cat.
In a little grey shelter beyond the gate
of the Medway Maritime Hospital,
Freckle-faced home and colonial nurses
convene for a smoke and a chat.

Outpatients IN and inpatients OUT
at the Medway Maritime Hospital:
Zimmers and crutches, wheelchairs and trolleys,
the halt, the maimed and the sick;
Taxi and ambulance, higgledy-piggledy,
jamming the doors of the hospital—
Whatever it is that you need to be doing,
It’s best you should do it quick.

Blossoms are sifting and drifting down
at the Medway Maritime Hospital,
So pink and white in the morning light
you find that you catch your breath.
But it’s just another day beginning,
an average day at the hospital,
Of everyday matters that don’t much matter
and matters of life and death.

John Whitworth

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