|Typhoid Epidemic (1862)
"When they died we had to lay them out
in the house as they weren't allowed
near the hospital; and it were nearly
always fatal. So when it started we knew
it probably wouldn't be long. They'd bring
coffins in and your mother would make you go and look.
"Isn't she lovely." they'd say, but all you wanted
was for her to sit up, climb out and play.
If it were your dad you'd be dead scared,
warily hanging back by the door, and she'd say,
"He didn't hurt you when he were living." (which he did)
"So he's not going to hurt you now. Go and kiss him."
Which we did, secretly wondering at the cold marble
of the skin while the sun shone so fierce outside.
We'd have that for three days: relatives, neighbours,
even them he said he never liked arrived.
Worst was the smell of lavender.
Lavender was all we could smell.
My stomach still turns to this day if I so much as
catch one whiff.
Then they came and screwed down the lid
and that were the the finish of it. "
24 Jul 08
Rated 8.5 (9) by 2 users.
Active (2): 8, 9
Inactive (1): 10
(define the words in this poem)
(718 more poems by this author)
Add A Comment:
he gives me feevah,
when he kiss me,
feevah when he holds
me tite... FeVah!
i'm on fyah,
feever all through
Larry intemperate zone :ark
well done; i felt like i was a child at this funeral, and it reminded me of my own childhood experience with death in the family at the same time. i never thought much about the origin of the phrase "laid out in lavender" until your piece brought it to me.
where is opal? I miss her and her poetry? Bring her back, if you can.
I am so pleased you reponsed to this poem.
Larry grateful Lark
She has just descended the stairs for breakfast.
Larry egg and bacon Lark
a pearl amongst pearls.
I think you meant a swine among pearls did you not?
Larry filthy swine Lark
If you mean the Emperess of Blandings, ok then.
Is this copied from something? If so, you need to give credit for that in an intro or footnote. The way you've posted it, with the " marks, it looks like it's a kind of 'found" article or something.
If not, sorry, but you must see how it would come across that way. It's so raw and real. I wonder how many caught the fever kissing the dead.
You're absolutely correct Isabelle. I stumbled across this in a very beautiful house we stayed in across from Lincoln Cathedral, so much of it is found. I should have mentioned it but sometimes you are in too many places at once. I think it was in a book about the history of Lincoln. I take absolutely no credit for this poem except for the changes i made to make it run on and additional lines inserted which may or may not have added to its impact. I have other poems about the past on here that I have worked on in a similar way as i feel that the historical immediacy can be added to in a poetic context and presented in a way that might get more people to understand about the past. For after all, if we do not understand what has gone before, how can we effectively advance into the future.
Larry eons of time Lark
Either way, this is very good, Larry.
I should have been the great nephew of that lovely woman
It's cool and I always treasure a comment from you
goodness. this is so richly told. vernacular style, told in your nice humorous fashion. line sixteen is awesome, proves my point completely. and there are others.
Larry living in the past Lark