Poem Of the Week

Imagine Marvin at your hospital bedside

By Trish Harris

Imagine if the hospital

employed a Marvin.

A monotone, pill-toting machine

who in less than 15 seconds

fires medication directly

into your mouth, offers you

a consoling phrase

(from a store of 1,005)

and pats your head with

plastic hands.

Imagine if the hospital

employed a Marvin

instead of the nurse

with her soft-timbred voice

who reaches across

the fear and says

We want to help you

get on top of your pain.

This poem comes from ‘My Wide White Bed’ (reviewed by Gill Ward on November 5).

Trish Harris

Following the success of her memoir, The Walking Stick Tree (2016), Trish Harris’s first collection of poetry once again highlights her skill with words. My wide white bed captures the small but significant interactions with hospital staff and other patients, from the moorings of a widewhite bed, during a prolonged stay in the hospital after orthopaedic surgery. The simple yet beautifully crafted poems make this a book everyone can appreciate – readers and non-readers of poetry alike.

Anne Taylor, Orthopaedic Clinical Nurse Manager of Hutt Hospital, says, ‘In a few words Trish Harris gives us small visions of hospital life – through the patient’s lens. Roommates make connections and encourage each other as their bodies and bones heal. These poems are a delight to read and will appeal to patients, staff and beyond.’

Trish Harris says, ‘There are lots of ‘things’ in hospital – concrete details to spin off from. So in amongst writing thoughts and frustrations I also jotted down observations, fantasies and sketches. As a reader I like it when poets notice and bring back. My wide white bed is what I’ve brought back.’

Trish developed rheumatoid arthritis at age six and lives with its effects as an adult. She is a strong voice both in New Zealand writing, and as a disability advocate.



• RRP: $22.00

• 198 x 129mm

• ISBN: 978-0-473-40579-3

• Print publication released October 2017

• Ebook available from Amazon

• The launch was on 14 October 2017, at Pataka Art & Museum in Porirua

• My wide white bed is available for purchase from: Landing Press’s website, New Zealand bookstores and Amazon