I have recently had to undergo a series of tests and scans in my local hospital, and whilst I found the hi-tech paraphernalia and strange clinically detached and isolated atmosphere of the hospital itself a little disturbing and alienating, I found the language that clustered around the scan itself strangely familiar; words like image, contrast, resonance, clarity, all seemed right and familiar to me as a poet, so in the end I got through it by, as it were submitting myself as a poem to be scanned. I haven’t had a firm result from these scans yet, though I am assuming no news is good news, but at least I got this poem out of it.
As always you can hear it by clicking on the title or the play button
How To Scan A Poet
My doctor tells me I will need a scan;
I tap a nervous rhythm with my feet,
‘Just count to five’, she says, ‘and then sit down.
The gist of it is printed on this sheet,
So read it over when you are at home.
We’ll have a clearer picture when we meet’.
I read the letter in a waiting room,
It’s language strangely rich for one like me
Image, Contrast, Resonance; a poem
Slips into view amidst the litany
Of Latin terms that make our medicine
A new poetic terminology.
The door is opened. I am ushered in
To lisp my list of symptoms, to rehearse
The undiscovered art of naming pain.
‘Its called deep inspiration, says the nurse,
‘Draw deep for me then simply hold your breath
And stay composed.’ So I compose this verse.
She says ‘We dye for contrast, to unearth
Each hidden image, which might bring
Some clue that takes us closer to the truth.
Be still and I will pass you through the ring,
Three passes, all in rhythm, and you’re free,
The resonance will show us everything’
And now my Muse says much the same to me,
Scanning these lines, and calling me to sing.