Walking through unceasing traffic outside the main hospital,
I saw Anne Frank at the bus stop,I thought
There was a young woman with seven children,
Jewish,I saw.Little ones shyly offering us their seats.
I asked if she lived nearby.
No, we live in Stamford Hill,North London
What a shame you have to come so far,
for this terminus is inside the hospital grounds,you see.
Oh,no!We did not come for the hospital.
We came to pick fruit on that lovely farm down the hill!
Yes,we have been there too, it is very beautiful,I say.
It’s easy enough on public transport,she murmured softly like a little girl.
The children gazed, demure and polite,
I could see their smiles were not so far away.
I asked her,Would it be offensive
if I gave my husband a kippah
as he is tired of his hat?
Not at all,she murmured,smiling.
Why,you can get them anywhere now…Stamford Hill,Golder’s Green
She took off the hat from her son’s head
to show me how white his skin was there.
She told me how they just came back from a seaside holiday.
Too soon ,their bus came.She’d be ready for a cup of tea or two.
I saw eight faces smile,just a little smile,you know;
enough it was and all for me.
The oldest girl waved her hand gently as the bus left.
I see this is not just a place with a hospital.
It’s got a pick your own fruit farm;it’s got woods,hills,
fields with horses,tomato filled greenhouses,large white houses.
When they close their eyes they’ll see the green and the sunshine;they’ll see the woods on the hill.
And I shall see them and Anne Frank too ;it was the hidden smile.
Why,I see it is almost the Mona Lisa too.
A smile can be such a mystery.
Emerging from a hospital,tests,blood,anxiety.,machines,..
it’s like dreaming,
it’s like being given a hint;
there’s another time intersecting with this
and history herself brushes against my cheek
with a rare intimacy
that makes me both smile and weep.
It’s always here,but we don’t see…
It’s not a hospital only;
it’s a doorway to other worlds
and what worlds,indeed.,