Maureen Gallagher – The Centre of Excellence

Maureen-Port_242_1Maureen Gallagher’s first collection of poetry, Calling the Tune, was published by Wordsonthestreet Press in December 2008. She has won or been shortlisted for many awards, including the Goldsmith Poetry Award, the Swift Satire Award. the Blackstaff Blog award, the HISSAC Short Story Award, the Writers’ Village Short Story Award and most recently the Cúirt International Award. Her webiste: maureen-gallagher.com

 

The Centre of Excellence

after Elizabeth Bishop

 

This is the centre of excellence.

This is the woman Tess
who died in the centre of excellence.

This is the time
of the woman Tess
who died in a place of excellence.

This is the watch
that tells the time
of the mother Tess
who died in the home of excellence.

This is the nurse
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the lover Tess
who died in a blaze of excellence.

These are the trolleys with patients on board
docked by the nurse
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of courageous Tess
who died in the fight for excellence.

These are the stars on the walls of the ward,
the moon the marks the microbes on board
described by the nurse
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the youthful Tess
who died in an hour of excellence.

This is the monk in a grubby gown
who shuffles the length of the half-built ward
past the trolleys with patients on board
called by the nurse
checking the watch
that tells the time
of the teacher Tess
who died to an encore of Excellence!

This is the world of a paper clown.
This is the monk in a blood-stained gown
who swishes the length of the half-built ward
past the trolleys microbes on board
to the worn-out nurse
that winds the watch
that ticks the time
of the vibrant Tess
who died on a wave of excellence.

These are the gaffes: the stomachs and nodes
removed in the name of a bankrupt clown
who dandles a monk in a grubby gown
the length and breadth of a half-built ward
for years a promise on a notice-board
and the over-worked nurse
that shakes the watch
that tells the time
of the woman Tess
who died in a pool of excellence.

These are the men in suits that know
the blunders: the breasts, stomachs and nodes
removed in the name of a paper clown.
This is the monk in a blood-stained gown
who hurtles down a filthy ward
past the trolleys coffins on board
to the harried nurse
who taps her watch
that tells the time
of departed Tess
who died in the hype of excellence.

This is the court where rests the ball.
These are the men in suits that know
the blunders: the breasts, stomachs and nodes
removed in the name of a paper clown.
This is the monk in a grubby gown
who stumbles down the half-built ward
past the trolleys coffins on board
to the wasted nurse
who taps her watch
that tells the time
of the woman Tess
who died at the altar of excellence.

 

 

Aside | This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.