I dreamt of you. That’s why I rang.
You were in trouble
With the doyens of the medical profession,
A dour lot, but powerful,
In our small large town.
Colleagues asked me, as if I knew,
“Is he alright?” That’s why they rang.
They stopped me in the street,
They whispered in my ear,
People I had not seen in years,
And I, great ignorant bumpkin,
Wondered, “What on earth?”
Until I learned, you had insulted their intelligence,
These eminent men of science,
Who could destroy you if they would,
Without qualm or reservation,
Ranged like Rembrandt’s starch-collared sawbones
Around a corpse. But it is you, my friend,
In the centre with your book,
Declaiming it’s virtues
As if they did not know their business better.
It’s not with awe they regard your performance,
They shrink back with disdain.
You hardly warrant disgust, you fool,
It’s your head upon the plate.
They have no humour, these men of stone.
I had to laugh, “No worries mate!”
I finally told them when I knew,
Our friend is safe, irreverence caps arrogance
Every time. I hardly dared admit
I saw the dream made prophecy,
Your reputation shattered, your fortune failed,
The word on the street, you’d gone to ground,
The looks I got in cafes, the looks away.
I am afraid. That’s why I rang.