A Poem by our Writer in Residence, David Gilbert

By The Way

She pulls herself up the white steps,
as if cajoling a self-made soul 
and knowing that I’m the last person
to be persuaded of the strength
we possess, I offer her my arm.
She waves me away, then levers herself 
into the low green wicker chair.

‘I admire your determination’ I say. 
She cups her hand to her ear
and shouts: ‘I’m afraid I can’t hear you’
So, I call again, this time a little louder 
and she says again inevitably
‘I can’t hear you’. I go over at last 
like I’m on a mission to hear myself

enunciate as clearly as I can.
I lean in an inch from her ear: ‘I
admire your determination
and by the way my name’s David’
as if it were a word I was only
recently re-discovering. She smiles:
‘What a lovely name. Thank you Jamie’.


© 2023 David Gilbert

David Gilbert is Writer in Residence at Bethlem Gallery, author of ‘The Patient Revolution – how we can heal healthcare’ (Jessica Kingsley Press) and ‘The Rare Bird Recovery Protocol’ (poetry collection).


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