Over and over
the physiotherapist recites
a litany of bones:

'Calcaneus, talus, navicular,
medical cuneiform, sesamoid
lateral cuneiform, sacrum,
femur, hip, patella,
tib and fib, metatarsal,
calcaneus, talus, navicular . . .'

Metatella tibble fibble petatarsel
dopey from drugs we don't retain the names.

She wills us to smile, draws cartoons
of movement we must make.
Her comic heroine's Zazel
a human canonball with scarlet lips
whose flexi-limbs contort
more readily than ours.

Unmonkey-like, in cots, we cling to the trapeze
no body-builders, test our strength with weights
pump muscles, clench our fists, bend knees.
Patient she appaluds each small advance
and promises reward for work well done.
I crave an entertainment 'and it must be good.'

Next day a junior physio, evening student
at the City Lit of circus skills,
bows to my feet and juggles, just for me.
From such pleasures healing comes.
I crow for joy and swear I will recover.

Cicely Herbert
Home | In Hospital