A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Last week was one of those weeks I'd rather forget - full of medical and dental matters. But the upshot is: I can now hear properly for the first time in weeks, and some troublesome, worn-down teeth have been reconstructed. Praise God the NHS! All this reminded me of a poem I'd written a while ago after a visit to my informal, brilliant, highly skilled, impossibly young female dentist. The 'dentist who died' had been my previous dentist - of many years standing - who had tragically passed away in his sleep...

Dental Matters

Disarming me with your casual style,
You welcome me into the room
Next to the room of the dentist who died.

At your request I take a seat,
Lie down, relax, let go,
Like a patient on an analyst's couch.

I am in your intimate hands.
The chair spins as you adjust
The feng shui in your chamber.

I hand you my broken crown.
You laugh rather derisively,
Needling me to go the whole way.

My head tilts up then down.
I submit with a sigh to your desires.
Beyond my field of vision

Lie all the sharp instruments
Of your calling. I gaze fixedly
At the child's mobile on the ceiling.

You probe my mouth:
A gentle but firmly precise
Oral speleology. The female skills

Of needlecraft and stumpwork come to mind.
Gone is the sour cigar or garlic breath
Of certain male practitioners,

Just a clean, fresh lack of odour.
I feel nothing now. The tooth is out,
You say in an insouciant tone.

Later I'll feel the pain of loss.
Oh, Mistress Novocaine,
Let me tell you my dreams:

The purple sage of Mexico,
The burning sarsaparilla,
Hot chilli peppers in the blistering sun.

Do you know there are cavities
In the heart as well as in the mouth?
But you high-five your acolyte,

And I'm already far beyond your interest
When you politely shepherd me away
And turn to greet the next initiate.


Rachel Fox said...

Drugs are great! Sometimes...

ksam said...

Have you shared this with your dentist?

The Solitary Walker said...

Rachel: Yes!

Karin: Are you kidding?

George said...

Here's my suggestion for another poem that would make a great post. First, you share the initial dental poem with your dentist. Then, you schedule an appointment with the dentist to have some additional work done. Upon the completion of that work, you could then write a poem about the follow-up experience and post it here so that we can compare it to the first.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I don't think my dentist fits into this category at all Robert (and up here I am afraid he is not NHS)

The Solitary Walker said...

Ha! Too long in the tooth to fall for that one, George. But thank God for fantasy!

Friko said...

A walker and a poet. The two go well together.
I like your blog, I shall follow you.

The Solitary Walker said...

Weaver - we're very lucky here still to have NHS dentists...

I've put myself down as a follower of your two blogs, too, Friko. Loved your recently featured poems.