Wednesday, 16 February 2011

After the event

My mother died twelve years ago and my father died last month. After the first event I had this poem published-

After the event
I saw my Father after mum died.
He looks smaller. He looks deserted.
He’s not the same man he used to be.
When I was a boy I thought he was
Best in the world. I used to boast
About him. “Best in the world my Dad.”
It feels wrong me being bigger than
Him, and not just in size. What can I do?
His pains too deep to touch and anyway Fathers
And sons just don’t talk like that. Besides
                                                              he’ s
Never watched Oprah and won’t know how to
Get the pain inside on the out. Poor man.
He does things he’s never done before.
He cooks and washes. He irons does the
And sits and cries, and cries and cries.
I was thirty-five before I saw Dad weeping.
Now he can’t stop and I can’t help.
To him however many of us are in the
House it’s always empty 'cos Mum’s not there.
He used to dream of this and hope to
Do that. Looked forward to retiring. He wishes
Now that he was dead, with Mum and what
Can I say? “Don’t go dad we need you too.”
Fathers and sons. If only we could communicate
If only I could make him see. For me he’s
Still the best in the world. Still.

Friday, 11 February 2011

It's all about sex

One of the odd things about moving from being a hospital based nurse to being a Carthusian monk to being a hospital nurse again is the gender mix. From an overwhelmingly female environment to an exclusively male one back to an overwhelmingly female one. Apart from noting that men and women are not the same as each other is there anything more profound to be said about it all? I did see something of a group dynamic thing. In the monastery certain roles normally fulfilled by women are not left vacant but filled by men instead. That is to do with a willingness to expose personal vulnerabilities. Usually men will be reluctant to express fears or desires in a group situation but are secretly glad when women do it for them. In the absence of women you might expect these things to be unmentioned but apparently really felt needs are more important than maintaing a macho front. Conversely in more or less female only settings women are less inhibited about appearing decisive, assertive and willing to lead. Interesting.