Thursday, March 13, 2008

Terminal Pharmacy

‘The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.’ Revelation 22:2

When we lived at the end of the bus line,
the ‘Terminal Pharmacy’ sign
was visible just over the road
among other shabby little shops,
where one window I recall
had forlorn piles of stiff black shoes.
Foot wear for undertakers.

On a departing bus
I opened the book that begins
“In the beginning...”
and then, week by week, to the
“Surely I am coming soon.” last page,
the story’s terminus
where a bright pharmacy
shines welcome day and night
and my hand closes on a little chit
written in physician’s script
for glad embrace
when the bus pulls in at last.


Radagast said...


Good to see "Ish" back online!

Alok said...

This was intriguing .... I loved the allusiveness in this piece ... the thoughts that it brought ... it had the power of someone going back and forth with equal clarity ...


'soulless' said...

A compact piece, handled with much skill and care in not stating too much but conveying much impact.

And the mention of "stiff black shoes" and what these are for -- a unique detail which lends concreteness to the poem.


Inconsequential said...


missmellifluous said...

Ish! This poem disturbs me...
'Terminal Pharmacy'
a bus and story's terminus...nothing else is terminating for now, is it? :S

Great poem. Concern for the poet unsettles me. I am teaching historical criticism at the moment so forgive me if I read too much into things...;)

missmellifluous said...

ps great parallels also!

"physician's script"? Are we talking about an ultimate physician?

You could so play on the word 'leaves' that you quote in the verse too.

ish said...

Thank you radagast. I keep trying to prod the muse.

alok thank you too. I do aspire to the trick of slipping successfully back and forth between meanings.

soulless. Less is inevitably more. One chips away at the shell of text clutter until the kernal is exposed. I struggle with having the clear eye that allows me to distinguish the two.

inc. I am pleased you liked it.

Dear missmellifluous, I am touched by your concern. Thank you. I am in great health. Years ago when we lived in the place alluded to in the poem we were amused by the name which obviously intended to refer to it’s location at the end of the bus line. Multiple meanings (love 'em) allow that it could be a pharmacy for the dying. (Or one where you might get done in!)
It is an easy step to spiritual implications. Without the great physician's remedy I remain a dead and dying lot in all senses.

From ancient times the leaves of trees and other plants have been a source of pharmaceuticals.

missmellifluous said...

:) I love the multiple meanings. I can enjoy the poem now you have settled my concerns. :)
Happy Easter!

Inconsequential said...

Yay the miracle or turning rabbits/giant eggs into chocolate is upon us...

Praise the almightyretailers for this gluttonous ritual, and I hope you all have a jolly fine time :)

Have a good one Ish, and this poem is still

I might not do the theology thing, but it works here!

steve said...

Hey, I like this one very much