Taken at Mill Hill, North London, Nov 13th 2011.
“November” by Simon Armitage
We walk to the ward from the badly parked car
with your grandma taking four short steps to our two.
We have brought her here to die and we know it.
You check her towel, soap and family trinkets,
pare her nails, parcel her in the rough blankets
and she sinks down into her incontinence.
It is time John. In their pasty bloodless smiles,
in their slack breasts, their stunned brains and their baldness
and in us John: we are almost these monsters.
You’re shattered. You give me the keys and I drive
through the twilight zone, past the famous station
to your house, to numb ourselves with alcohol.
Inside, we feel the terror of the dusk begin.
Outside we watch the evening, failing again,
and we let it happen. We can say nothing.
Sometimes the sun spangles and we feel alive.
One thing we have to get, John, out of this life.