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"The place where I fell. Man! So painful!" - photo: Warren Mars

While climbing on Anna's carport roof to remove some old fibreglass sheeting I didn't check the strength of the roof batons first and thus didn't see that one had been eaten out by termites. It collapsed as soon as I stood on it and the decades old fibreglass sheeting sheered off at one end and hinged at the other, dumping me straight through onto the bare concrete 8' below.

It happened so fast I had no time to think before I found myself lying on the slab writhing in agony. It was perhaps a miracle that nothing was broken and I wasn't even concussed… Yes I was very sore and very bruised with a badly pulled back muscle but nothing major. I consider myself very fortunate. If had landed head first I could have died. An 8ft fall onto concrete is no joke!

I know I'm not alone in having suffered such a fall, as within 2 days of these events I had two men tell me similar stories. So to everyone who's suffered such a terrible fall, this poem is for you!

I wrote this poem the following morning after I realised that we had a Poetry Group meeting that afternoon. It took about 2½ hours to write following on from the snatch that came to me while dressing: “I should have thought, I should have knew. I should have not. I fell right through.” The playing with ungrammatical constructs is deliberate.

Anna's new house had guttering probs,
Some pressing, but annoying, jobs.

The fibreglass sheet would have to go.
It stops the light and leaks backflow.

And so in the midst of Saturday sport,
I climbed the roof of her carport.

I strode the sheeting, drill in hand.
The baton will give me the strength to stand.

A risky move, without a doubt,
Termites had eaten the inside out.

I should have doubted, should have knew,
The baton snapped, I fell right through.

It happened fast: a confused blur,
A whirl of colour, there I were.

From 8 foot up, without a guard,
The fall was long, the concrete hard.

No time to think before collide,
I landed on my back and side.

My speed was high, no self defence,
The shock was great, the pain immense.

The impact threw my head right back,
Into the slab I heard it smack.

A wall of pain. Out came a yell.
A thought: "I can't believe I fell!"

Perhaps I rolled? Perhaps rebound.
From off the slab on to the ground.

A wall of pain. An unreal scene.
Stillness and adrenaline.

Anna saw the dreadful fall,
Came running out through sliding wall.

"Don't move" said she, as I in pain,
Lay winded, struggling in my brain.

"I'll call an ambulance" said she.
"Let me recuperate" said me.

At length as I had prophesied,
The pain and rush did just subside.

A mighty heave and up I stood,
And walked around, as I thought good.

Pain, to be sure all down my right.
My buttocks, elbow, back all bite.

My hand was worst from tip to wrist,
But I could open and clench my fist.

"I'm, walking, thinking, talking fay,
Maybe I will be ok?"

But then my blood began to cool,
"I'll just lie down. Don't be a fool!"

An hour I lay, a supine form,
With blanket on to keep me warm.

A cup of tea, a loving kiss,
I thought: "I think I'm over this"!

A sudden snap, a searing pain,
"God dammit! Here we go again!"

I jumped upright, but come what may,
This new pain wouldn't go away.

I must concede. This time I know.
To casualty now we must go.

A quick triage, the hope of leaven,
My pain I said was up to seven.

They let us in. The air felt cold.
I took my clothes off as she told.

A cotton gown, a cotton blank1,
I lay there stock still, feeling rank.

Some pills, some water in a bowl:
Brufen2, Paracetamol.

Questions, probing, "move your arm",
"Can you do this?", "Squeeze my palm."

"We'll give you Endone3 from the tray,
We'll take you in to get X-ray."

X-ray machine and Louis tall.
"Alas I can't sit up at all."

"To help we will indeed contrive".
Exposures, maybe four or five.

Then Endone's power strong displayed.
My hands to warm, the pain to fade.

My bones were fine despite the thud,
My urine showed no trace of blood.

Some final tests, some pills to stow,
And now at last you're free to go.

Thanks to all, farewell to dread,
Then back to footy, soup and bed.

Some nasty bruising, feeling sus,
a badly pulled longissimus.

But contemplate what might have been,
I'm fortunate indeed! I ween4.

Warren Mars - June 2017

  1. Short for blanket.
  2. Ibuprofen
  3. Oxycodone
  4. ween