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Terry Collett Aug 2019
The artificial legs seem
like appendages,
and I feel
both sickened,
and yet pleased at last
to be able to get about again
without being
in the wheelchair.

They are attached
and then I am balanced,
a nurse either side.

I imagined
it would be easier,
but it is strange,
like being attached to objects
which move if I lift
and move I leg stumps.

I walk forward slowly,
the nurses at my side,
encouraging me on,
knowing I am blind.

This is it; this is how
it will always be now
if I want to walk.

It is learning
to walk again,
as I learnt
as  a little girl,
with the falls
and missteps
which came then.

I walk onward,
one step at a time,
learning to throw
the leg stump,
balancing as I go.

Philip will be pleased
when he comes,
seeing me walk,
seeing me eye to eye,
not looking down
at the wheelchair.

After a while
the nurses
suggest I rest;
I want to keep on,
but I sit,
not an easy task,
and try to accept
the legs will
be there now;
no longer promises,
but attached,
new limbs;
how it always will be,
my old legs,
damaged beyond repair,
no longer there.
Terry Collett Sep 2017
After the wedding and small reception
Philip carries Grace over the threshold
of their new home. Iris the maid comes
behind them ready to help set Grace on

to her legs again.  He sets Grace down
carefully with Iris's help. Grace stands on
her artificial legs balancing herself. They
walk into the lounge, Philip guiding her

along as her blind eyes stare into the room.
Wish I could see the room. Wish I could
see Philip and Iris. Philip takes Grace to
the settee and she sits down slowly. A home

again. Hope this one doesn't get bombed.
Well Grace you are home again, Philip says.
Yes, its good to be out of hospital and in
a new home, she says. He takes her hand.

Want you to know this is your new home
forever, he says. New home. I'll never see
it or him. Where's Iris? She says. She's putting
your clothes away in our bedroom, he says.

Bedroom. Bed. And he will want to make
love to me tonight. How will he be when
he sees me naked and legless? He's seen my
stumps, but never naked and half a woman.

She grabs his hand tight. You have never seen
me naked, what will you think when you see
me without clothes and legless? Will you really
want to make love to me? He leans in close

to her. Of course I will, I love you, Grace,
he says softly. But I am only half a woman,
a blind one too. She cries. He hugs her closer
to him. She can sense him near. You are a complete

woman to me, he says. Iris comes running into
the room. What's up? She says, going across to them.
Grace is worried about tonight, he says. Iris kneels
down beside Grace and whispers: you have your

husband who loves you madly and me to care for you
in all things I can. Grace cries as she has not done
for sometime. In her mind's eye she thinks of Clive
who died at Dunkirk the year before and who made

love to her before the bombing and his death. She
senses Philip kiss her cheek. And Iris's hand touching
her thigh. Now she wants to live, last year she wanted to die.
A BLIND LEGLESS WOMAN IS MARRIED IN 1941
Terry Collett Sep 2017
I walked on
my new legs
up the aisle,
Guy beside me
to give me away.

Joan and Iris behind
holding the dress.

Philip was at the top
of the church
waiting for me.

It seemed strange
walking the aisle,
unable to see the flowers
with my blind eyes,
but smelling them
as I walked.

Guy stood me
next to Philip;
I sensed him beside me.

The priest began speaking
and I listened
to his every word.

I couldn't believe
I was getting married.

I could hear others
in the church in the pews
shuffling or whispering.

Last year
I never thought life
would be worth living again
after losing my sight and legs
in the bombing raid.

I had wished
I could have died,
but now I have legs again,
and Philip,
and a new maid Iris.

I stood there
staring forward
as if I could see everything.

We exchanged vows
and we kissed.

We were husband and wife
and I have new legs
and a new life.
GRACE AND HER NEW LIFE 1941
Terry Collett Aug 2017
A lot has happened
in the last two months:
I have two news legs
a new maid
(thanks to Guy and Joan)
and a new cheque book.

Philip took me shopping
with the new maid(Iris)
and Iris helped me
choose the clothes
(with coupons)
as I cannot see
(but I trust
her judgement).

I have left
the hospital
and am living
in a small place
(with Iris)
in Chelsea.

Philip comes most days
and we have dinner
(a simple affair)
and either he sits
and reads to me
I haven't learnt
Braille yet)
or we sit
and listen to music.

Once he has gone
(I dread him going)
Iris helps me undress
and I go to bed.

Iris has a room
next to mine
so she can hear me
if I fall from bed
or need her
during the night
(call of nature).

Clive still haunts me
his death was a cruel blow
but Philip has proposed
and we will marry in June
(all being well
and ****** has not invaded).

I lay here on the bed
staring into darkness
listening to the birds
singing from the garden.

Iris is running me a bath
it won't be easy
but Iris said
we can manage it
and I expect we will.

I miss Clive
and my legs
and sight still.
A WOMAN IN LONDON IN 1941 HAS NEW HOPE

— The End —