John Scarborough

The Old Masters
After Musée Des Beaux Arts W H Auden

About suffering, according to Auden,
the Old Masters were never wrong.
They knew its human position.

In a resort-town Intensive Care,
blood cells and pathogens skirmish
through a grandfather’s pumped lungs.

Nurses and doctors in flimsy armour
line his bed, wait for the count,
lift him, turn him, chest down.

Across fields on the edge of town,
ploughmen are tilling the rich soil,
as fine as a girl’s braided hair.

Dogs running free are still
doing their doggy business,
sheep are fat with unborn lambs.

The tides still follow the moon
and sunlight washes the waves,
whether or not the tourists come.

In the distance, giant turbines
circle slowly, murmur on the breeze,
heard only by a solitary hawk.

John has enjoyed a life-long interest in poetry and retired last year to concentrate on his own writing. He has since had six poems retained for publication in poetry/literary journals and describes himself as being on a steep learning curve towards a first collection. He is a member of Louth Poetry Review Group which offers considerable inspiration and critique. He loves the great outdoors and has a particular interest in pastoral poetry as well as verse about human relationships.