This piece is part of our 2022 Community Flash Series showcasing new writing by the Wandsworth Carers Centre Writers Group. You can read more about the background to this project in our introduction to this series, find out more about Wandsworth Carers Centre on their website, and find them on Twitter @CarerWandeworth.
When the Light Fades
In Bed Six lies the Sleeping Princess,
At her side, in Bed Five, is the Duchess with loyal Duke.
Each night when the ward lights dim
And sounds are dampened, apart from
The constant beep of the drips
A transformation begins.
While sleep escapes me
And weariness drives over me,
Holy pictures appear,
Visions from a childhood prayer book,
Icons from a richly embroidered tapestry.
The Princess, with her head gently tilted to one side,
Propped up with pillow clouds,
Dozes in a morphine mist whilst
The biting pain is briefly swept away
Her frail hand hovering over the Mercy Button.
The Duchess tightly clutches Duke,
His stuffing peeping through the seams,
Careworn, wear worn, comforting.
She rests, motionless on her back
With her mouth wide open
Ready to call
“Will somebody help me please”
So softly that nobody hears....