Ward Visit

Entering, we leave behind
the familiar ground
of easy conversation.

Here are no well-defined
rules for calling round
on a social occasion.

The room is lined with chairs,
each one apart, as if
in mutual dislike.

By some we’re met with stares,
others sit still and stiff;
but all of them alike

incurious and sedated.
We find a private space
for our quiet meeting

where little can be stated
beyond the shallow grace
of a simple greeting.

Slowly we navigate
the silences and tour
blind alley and dead end,

seeking words to ungate
response; words to unmoor
affection; words that can mend.

Each visit is a quest,
a pilgrimage to find
in unpromising land

the relics which attest
to a coherent mind
and power to understand.

– David Morphet 2002