Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Whitlow

April 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Poetry

Looking down at his right index finger,

He saw the scar remained, as did that curved fingernail.

Not thought of for years, the memory now vivid,

The whitlow, the pain, and the delirium,

And the heat of the bread poultice.

The old Doctor flitting in and out of his dreams,

Muttering, ‘Not ripe, not ripe. I’ll lance it tomorrow’.

From the pain, and the poison, now light in the head,

He lay there, half in-half out of his bed, in despair.

Into his mind, drifted thoughts of wild creatures,

What would they do? And then he knew.

The bandage removed, the gangrenous finger exposed,

The putrid green spreading up into his hand.

He bit through the yellow skin with his strong teeth.

The poison now released, dripped onto the floor,

Relief from the the pain, he was exhausted,

But his brain was now clear,

He lay back on his pillow and started to rest.

Then in a week he was back throwing stones in the river.

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