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Books & Poetry

Poem: After the death sentence

Books & Poetry

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Prolific poet Judy Dally has had poems published in the annual Friendly Street Reader over 25 consecutive years. Here, she sees the light in a dark diagnosis.

After the death sentence

After the diagnosis
had been made
and the death sentence
had been passed
things began to look up.

His wife,
who couldn’t drive
to the hospital,
had to deprive him
of her company
for days on end.

The restrictions
of his diabetic diet
were abandoned
and he adopted a regime
of liquorice allsorts
and Coopers Light.

He delighted in
lying in bed
watching Fox Sports
for unlimited hours
while friends from
the northern suburbs
dropped by with a supply
of home grown marijuana.

Old girlfriends
came to visit;
the hire purchase company
agreed to cancel
his last three payments;
his children stopped
nagging him for money
and the weather was
extra nice for June.

After the death sentence
had been passed
he laughed more,
swore at will
and shared lewd jokes
with the nurses.
No one complained
when he expressed
extreme political views.
No-one groaned
when he wore
his Power Ranger pyjamas.

His family
quietly acquiesced
to the re-write of his will
and agreed to his requests
for a strippergram
at the funeral.
His children visited
more often, and for longer
than they had for years.

After the death sentence
he learned the meaning of peace
and the nature of understanding.
He became more patient,
and less demanding.

After the death sentence
his life began.

Judy Dally has been a board member for the SA Writers’ Centre and a committee member and co-editor for the Friendly Street Poetry Group. Her latest joint project with Friendly Street was its Reader No. 36, launched at Writers’ Week 2012.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems up to 30 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.



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