One Near-Death Experience at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital To be dazed out, phased out, near to dying In a hospital bed Somewhere in a street near you, Pain excessive, crying, Eyes blank at blank ceiling staring ahead And nothing, nothing to do. Only night comes on, but what matter? Light in hospitals’ always the same? Like light that never has a heart To live, or living lacked voice to utter Its own radiance, alias its name – Why in hospital all falls apart. So phased I stared and from me streaming Upwards spirit sent Itself into darkness, void, A place to live only dreaming, Fugitive, somewhere not here, lent From that beyond never destroyed Because never created either: Some deepness, then, words don’t get to. But I saw the finger twirl the candy-floss In that spiral outwards and wider, Until approaching it let go, One flick, casual, spun off like dross. And I was there, suddenly, abruptly, realising What it was I saw: The index finger drifting in its wake – No candy. One white hot star striving To be in place, to be what light’s for; A universe forming for my sake. There, above the hospital bed, the atmosphere, In rare company God’s finger worked its magic work; In doing so all painless, clear But I still lost in pain below the sky: In hospital’s hopeless and resistless dark. Unforced, but necessary as hell, I blurting Out, ‘God help me!’. Above me that serene, That power which moved all things by its Will; Below weakness, racking pain, everything hurting. This disparity hurting more, obscene; No part of me at rest and nothing still. How can these things be? Such distance Between us, flesh And blood, that order above? Intellect powerless, save to wince, Or be nothing, only less. Yet …instantly turning in love That finger did, straight at me, pointing Faster than light Through me and I back in bed Propelled, crashing Earthwards, wanting What? Some sign? Some sight? But in my scar its presence formed instead. In that presence, then, converting suffering: What was pain No longer it at all; Through God knows how, one new offering - Nothing now in vain And up is after every fall. Pure joy - no citadel can withstand, No fortress barricade, No castle keeps out - Pure joy - no wit to understand, No mind to be afraid, No inch even to doubt. Pure joy - alive and in me - Closer than blood, Deeper than the well of my own soul: Convulsing me in tears and mystery, Aware of that profound good I felt, and feeling made me whole. And more than that His purity: How pure beyond created things, Or sullying that was my case; He was, He is, is always, absolute and free; While I in filth, caught in my own strings, Longed now, not just to feel, but see His face. How long His comfort comforted, endured, I cannot say; But diving into dream-rich sleep I woke next day, assured, As one, lost, who'd found his way, Broke, given treasure to keep. Then I knew truly mercy's meaning: Cancer abating, Hospital, one distant and deserted shore I'd leave. Death real but Spirit weaning Me from nothing towards creating And being what life is, what life's for. An Imitation of Sonnet 15 Sonnet 15 By William Shakespeare When I consider every thing that grows Holds in perfection but a little moment, That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows Whereon the stars in secret influence comment; When I perceive that men as plants increase, Cheered and cheque'd even by the self-same sky, Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease, And wear their brave state out of memory; Then the conceit of this inconstant stay Sets you most rich in youth before my sight, Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay, To change your day of youth to sullied night; And all in war with Time for love of you, As he takes from you, I engraft you new. Imitation By James Sale Lord God, I have been on a long journey With one I come and am coming to love: Place? Right by the border, The Willow Tree, There for a while we stopped and said we'd have Refreshment together. Thus, in a bright room Decked in apparel suitable for those Whose aim has shifted from their self's same tune To harmony with each other, we're close, And all doors exit into paradise. Yes, Lord, with her, on the border between One country and another, with surprise Discovering how much true lovers mean. And winter comes and willow trees must weep: Oh Christ! Please let this dying be but sleep. James Sale, FRSA is a leading expert on motivation, and the creator and licensor of Motivational Maps worldwide. James has been writing poetry for over 40 years and has seven collections of poems published, including most recently, Inside the Whale, his metaphor for being in hospital and surviving cancer, which afflicted him in 2011. He can be found at www.jamessale.co.uk and contacted at james@motivational maps.com. He is the winner of First Prize in the Society’s 2017 Competition.