Three Poems by Philip Ivory

Three Poems




Worthing hospital,  Summer 1976

in memory of Laurence Ivory



Outside, great heat, dry grass;

Inside the ward, three patients-

The old man’s ward.

In the corner bed, my father

Trying to listen to his neighbour,

The Chirpy Sparrow, who talks about thrushes and starlings.

My father has a few days:

He seems to sleep and then he is looking around

His eyes are glazed, he’s breathing hard,

Pale pumping chest,

Talcumed like a baby.

His long body sweats  under the sheet

Oxygen’s no use any more.


Outside I go for a swim-

As I push through the flat hot sea

I breathe like him, in spurts.


Back in the ward,

He’s still, very still

Waiting for a few more days.




THE BODY                                        1977

a self portrait


The outward man stands six foot tall

And weighs 14 stone 10 pounds in all

But have the guts to look inside-

And let me be your helpful guide.


The human heart is merely meat

A bloody purse of velvet heat ;

The kidneys and the liver and the spleen

Are organs with a gorgeous sheen ;

The lungs , those pink and spongey bags,

Cannot survive on a diet of fags.


The genitals past–

Their glory past.





You can celebrate your birthday in many ways:

You can lie in your cot with puckered face

While outside open-top trams clang down to the centre

And your father bikes with a rose to the mother and child;

You can be treated to creamy cakes at the end of the war

And reject them, they’re too rich for a stomach

Bred on dried egg and wheat-flakes like cardboard;

You can jump a few years and be a naval rating

Out drinking beer with his mates at a succession

Of crowded bars in a German sea-town,

Later to be assisted aboard the homeward bus,

Staring at the stars.


You can mark the day as time and mood see fit:

This year I sit in this exam room considering the frowning faces

Of solemn girls crouched over creaking desks;

Whispers around the room implore me for tissues

For more paper and quiet explanations of knotty points;

Tonight we are going out to eat at a little place in the Good Food Guide

Where you have to book a day in advance

For the privilege of eating small amounts, beautifully cooked,

With plenty of elbow room.



June 2 1977






Author: poetryparc2

Here goes: I read poets and around poetry and any other book I take a fancy to. I seem to have a preference for seeing the changes from the Victorian period through to the 1930's, maybe 50's. But, and a big but, I also read anything right up to current poetry/performance poetry. Sometimes my ‘historic’ preference for 'imagist' and ‘Nature' unnerves me for too much too modern. However, I do like to range over poetry and fiction, any and all periods. I also like finding (if only for me) regional or partly forgotten poems and poets. Maybe all this is too eclectic to have a themed 'Blog' but so be it....... I also write fiction that might add up to a small mole-hill one day. Plus reviewing new or old books that are relevant to my enthusiasms of Crime Fiction, the Arts, Natural History and Special Education. This is on 'wordparc'. I try to record honestly what I think but if something is too bad (to my mind, others may love it!!) then I will not 'blog'. I buy or borrow to read and review. If there is a click-through it is meant to be useful though ‘wordery’ might give me a small % at no cost to you. There, what's that if not seemingly random!

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