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 “Kyle’s Coming”

Arnold Lancaster, S.R.N
( Nurse at Cartwright)

Have you heard any news of the Kyle today?
They say she’ll be coming tonight;
I ought to be getting some letters away,
But I never get time to write.

There are babies to bath, and babies to feed,
There are eggs to be pickled, and plants to weed,
Sheets to be mended, and cupboards to tidy,
Household supplies to be ordered by Friday.
There are pills to be given, and temps, to take,
There are lamps to be bullied, and beds to make;
Guests to make tea for, the doctor to humor,
Yet, still there is time to listen to rumour.

Have you heard any news of the Kyle tonight?
She would have been here by today…

There’s strep, to be given, and diets to plan.
(And some sleep to be got if you possibly can),
The dressings to sterilize, stock to be made,
A sink to be plungered, and flies to be sprayed.
Tonsils for ‘ectomy, veins for ligation,
Hernias for ‘orrhaphy, teeth for extraction.
And always, your wearying thought to be beguile,
The worrying question, just WHERE is the Kyle?

The prophets were wrong; she came not at night,
Nor yet in the glare of the day,
But at four A.M. in the bleak half-light,
In a blending of gold and grey.

For poets there’s magic in morning’s fair skies,
Of daybreak much praise has been said,
But down on the wharf, with sleep in your eyes,
You wish you were back in your bed.

You think of the letters you did not write,
Of the rumours that went a-gley,
For the Kyle, she does not come in the night,
And she does not come in the day.

Reprinted from
Among The Deep Sea Fishers
July 1954
July 23, 1914