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Spring time

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‘She’s a walker’, they said, ‘hasn’t stayed still all morning’. Mavis was wearing a pale pink floral nighty, a furrowed brow, and tired eyes. ‘Would you like it if I read some poetry to you today?’, I asked. I do not know how long she had been on the ward but she had been on this earth long enough to recognise every poem I read to her. ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, I began. Mavis smiled. ‘That floats on high o’er vales and hills’, she mouthed back. I smiled. I’d walked through spring just before I’d stepped onto the ward that afternoon, ‘When all at once I saw a crowd, / A host, of golden daffodils’, I continued. Mavis looked up at me, eyes rosy and watered. She told me later that she had studied English at university too and we talked about Robert Frost, and Walter De La Mare, and Emily Dickinson. I slowed down, ‘And then my heart with pleasure fills’ - I wondered who the sight of daffodils was reminding her of and thought how when I see daffodils I would remember Mavis - ‘And dances with the daffodils’. Mavis has an English degree; I nearly have one too. We both sat still to hear each other’s stories. You’re not allowed to bring flowers into the hospital for the patients, but I brought Mavis some daffodils that day. She thanked me, said I had kind eyes, and dried her tears.

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