The NS Poem: Joie de vivre

A new poem by Paul Bailey.

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I have a battery that keeps me ticking.
I think I take at least twenty pills a day.
I laugh when I can and weep when I must.
I love and am loved. Oh, it ought to become a psalm,
this catalogue I’m setting down
with measured sorrow and delight
in the very first hour of an April morning.

It’s All Fools’ Day right now.
I listen to my waste making its way
into the stoma that I’ve had to wear 
for ten confusing months
and almost marvel at the sound it’s making.

My body’s not what it was.
It’s been opened up and put back together
too many discomforting times.
It seems a stranger to me when I need to look at it

There are hyacinths and tulips in the garden
and a few distraught daffodils
and the untrustworthy camellia’s about to blossom.

Paul Bailey is a British novelist, critic and poet. “Joie de Vivre”, his next collection of poems, will be published by CB Editions in May 2021.

This article appears in the 28 August 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The world after Covid

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