Summer was the worst time to be sick,
tucked up tight in bed, restrained
by grandmother’s hospital corners,
bullied by the clock’s resonant tick.

The room was stifling, even the sticky
Lucozade was too warm to fizz,
and the fly too drowsy to buzz
and batter against the window.

Outside, neighbourhood children played,
lawnmowers droned and a hose sprinkled,
my grandfather whistled a jaunty tune,
and in the scullery, crockery tinkled.

For a while, soothed by calamine,
I almost forgot the itchy skin,
more perturbed by the itch in my head,
the desperation to get out of bed,

escape the sweat-drenched sheets
and the pressure pot of the room,
to run bare legged under the spray
soaking the roses that hot summer’s day.

Kim M. Russell, 26th May 2020

“The Sick Girl”, 1882, by Michael Ancher, found on Wikipedia

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Make some room

Laura is our host for this week’s Poetics, with a quotation from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and poems that feature rooms by John Updike, Charlotte Mew and Imtiaz Dharker (one of my favourites), as well as one of Laura’s own.

For today’s poetry prompt, Laura asks us to conjure a room or rooms in the literal, functional, metaphorical, imaginary, or fantastical sense. There is no restriction on rhyme or style.

42 thoughts on “Chickenpox

  1. I do love the hiss of those zzz somehow this reminds me of fevers I had as a child… they must have been different. But I do not remember when I had my chickenpox… I only know that I had it. My summers were mostly spared from being sick

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I only remember the part of looking outside the windows and not being able to go play with my friends! Funny what was important to me…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When one is confined in place, sounds take on a heightened aspect, which you capture so well here, Kim. I like the contrast between the hot airless room and the cool water on your legs once you were able to get outside. Great poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, I identified with this one, and the time I spent in bed with the chicken pox. My brother was just home from his stint in the army and he caught it from me. I don’t think he ever forgave me!!

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  4. For me, my reward for having the chickenpox as a kid, was a raging case of shingles a couple of years ago. Your poem is excellent in every regard

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  5. I really love the rhythm of this altho the patient is sedentary in her sweat soaked bed .. how we all longed to escape and do ‘normal’ things!
    A nice salute to our current situation where life goes on as we stay in lockdown 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You certainly stirred a memory. “bullied by the clock’s resonant tick.” “Lucozade was too warm to fizz,
    and the fly too drowsy to buzz
    and batter against the window.” Favorite lines.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Kim. I was 18, looking forward to summertime shenanigans with my recently graduated high school friends when I came down with chicken pox. I spent 6 weeks recuperating in an un air conditioned house due to an infection. This brought back alllll the feels!

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  8. This is such a clear and vivid description/memory. I felt like I was right there with you.
    I know I had chickenpox, but I don’t remember. I do remember my daughters having–right before the vaccine came out–but they had it in the winter.

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  9. Oh this is wonderful, Kim. And being of the age that I did have chicken pox, and measles, and mumps too….I remember the frustration of being stuck in bed, nevermind just inside. Your details are excellent and make this “live” — grandmother’s hospital corners on the bed….and oh yes…that does make those sheets feet so tight on your feet that your toes are almost pointed down! And the drowsy fly….and the children outside. That was always the hardest. Knowing your friends are out there and hearing their laughs. You’ve put the reader right into this room….and in this bed too!

    Liked by 1 person

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