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Will I Ever Get to Minsk


He had to go into a home: his words
were not enough to cope with life. He sat
and stared with silent men, as pipe-smoke hung,
and evening settled quietly down around them.

Until she came with her bagful of poems,
her therapeutic verses. Now listen
to this and then we’ll discuss.
Some life hung
in the afternoon; eyes reflected light.

Then one day something very special: One
of my favourites!
she told the men, and words
spun up and down the walls and danced and cried
till he turned his head and announced to her

that he was the author of that poem: he’d
had those thoughts when he still had thoughts. She smiled
and said, Of course you did. So he improved;
he soon got out and set up home alone.

She visits him on Saturdays. He gives
her poems; she washes his clothes. And now
he’s quite himself again, brimming with  words,
but far too sad to make a cup of tea.