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Operation

William Ernest Henley 1849 (Gloucester) – 1903 (Woking)



You are carried in a basket,
Like a carcase from the shambles,
To the theatre, a cockpit
Where they stretch you on a table.

Then they bid you close your eyelids,
And they mask you with a napkin,
And the anaesthetic reaches
Hot and subtle through your being.

And you gasp and reel and shudder
In a rushing, swaying rapture,
While the voices at your elbow
Fade-receding-fainter-farther.

Li ghts about you shower and tumble,
And your blood seems crystallising -
Edged and vibrant, yet within you
Racked and hurried back and forward.

Then the lights grow fast and furious,
And you hear a noise of waters,
And you wrestle, blind and dizzy,
In an agony of effort,

Till a sudden lull accepts you,
And you sound an utter darkness . . .
And awaken . . . with a struggle . . .
On a hushed, attentive audience.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley was an English poet, critic and editor, best remembered for his 1875 poem "Invictus". more…

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    "Operation" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Oct. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/40529/operation>.

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