A bright-lit waiting room. People of all ages
and in every degree of distress
with empty expressions on their faces
preparing for death.
A name is called, and a victim is led
away. They are laid out and stripped of all
possessions, before the stainless steel bed
wheels down a hall.
Looking at a view of the ceiling
they journey along polished corridors
filled with antiseptic feeling
and a series of open doors.
They arrive at a destination,
a room lined with neat stacked shelves. A curtain
is drawn. A sense of anticipation
replaces what was uncertain.
A calm woman dressed in a plain blue gown
appears from somewhere, and speaks in soft tones,
and then without knowing they are led down
to undiscovered zones.
And are taken to a place where the world
no longer matters, and the five senses
are cancelled; a place with neither cold
nor heat, no walls or fences,
no money worries or family disputes,
no politics, no traffic jams, no fear
or rage or pain, no deep-seated roots;
a place without a “here”.
A fortunate place. They discover
what it would be like to have died,
and all terrors are over.
To recede like the tide
into perfect oblivion
seems suddenly to be the endless bliss
promised to us by religion.
And it is just this:
a blank. The unlucky come back to living
like workers who have to return to town
after a holiday, but are given
a hospital gown.