‘Let him be loved’

Listen to this poem


I asked the doctor what was wrong with me.
She held her stethoscope to my amygdala.
Thought there was something blocked. Try writing,
she said. I have, I told her. Had to put a bung
in my pen. Stuff kept dribbling out. Can’t you check
my cortisol? I need a pacemaker for my days.

Try walking, she suggested. Try pacing up and down.
A treadmill
. I have, but I clocked out – the gate
clicked shut behind me. I’ve lost the key.
She offered me bread and wine and pilgrim’s sandals
and a map of the longest river. I told her I was tired.
Her pharmacopoeia was nearly empty. Kissing?

Whom? I inquired. Start with a rose, lips to the petals.
Get sensuous with nasturtium. Run your hands
over the smooth trunk of a beech tree in the gloaming:
perhaps you’ll meet another pair of hands – perhaps
your kindred spirit will be exploring from the other side.

I stopped off in a churchyard and washed the feet

of an old soak with cracked skin huddled on a bench
and forgot about the roses and the beech. When I got home
someone was sitting on my doorstep with a bowl
of warm water and a towel, a bottle of olive oil, as if
expecting me. I slipped round the back before they saw me,
and found a prescription pinned on the back door:

Let him be loved. Let him raise his voice on the street corner.


First published in Ink Sweat & Tears magazine, Feb 2020

1 thought on “‘Let him be loved’”

  1. I like this one Chris it reminds me of a time i came home like the prodigal son my father washed my septic feet after being on the road a long time. Superb poem .


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