The Poem She Didn’t Write – Asit Maitra

Doctors had their say.
And the relatives and friends.
Now it’s my turn, and I shout
‘I’m free; I know the deadline’.

I’ll still do my daily tasks,
At least as much as my body can:
A bit of hoovering, cleaning,
Go to the shops choosing
The juicy tomatoes and a fresh
Cut of lamb, you push the trolley,
No hurry, no fuss. Then later slowly cook
The curry dish you love so much.

‘Let’s see the world, USA, Canada, Far East,’
We look at holiday brochures. My eyes
Light up but you say, ‘Better not take a chance,
Not go too far away. In case they don’t have
Facilities like us.’ I smile.
‘Get ready for work. You don’t want to be late.’
You depart fighting for words.

I’m light as a feather, a puff of air
That’s appeared from nowhere, nudges
The top leaves of our apple tree and say,
‘Let’s play.’
I’m a cloud, that flaky, white one
High up in the sky, silent and weightless
But chatting away with the sun.

I could be anything now that
The whole world has spoken.
It doesn’t matter what cure the scientists
Might discover in years to come.
But nobody really knows how free
We can be when we are told
‘Your journey’s only so many miles to go.’


I still remember that Saturday morning workshop (MA Creative Writing).
Julia was fluent and inspirational; her eyes glowing as if to defy the shroud that’s coming closer and closer.
My emotional connection with Julia was that my wife also died from cancer at the age of 52.
She wasn’t a poet but a nurse.

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