To a Secretary

No more grateful thanks and yours sincerely

Flowing from the keyboard on headed paper

Translated from droning words to nimble fingers

Through patient ears and an agile mind

Working in love beyond the years.


No more the sips of morning coffee

And the quiet chat exchanging news

As opinions shape into words

That will become a day's work

For two people and many more.


No more the foot-pedal stopping and starting

Kicking the tape into action

And then hearing nothing but one two three four five

And a blur of accented words that somehow emerge

Between stops and new paragraphs.


No more carbon soiling the fingers

And duplicating those endless words

Into copies for this one and that

And then to be circulated for all and sundry

To see and mark with stamps of approval.


Just one more grateful thanks and yours sincerely,

Now not to others but simply you, flowing from the selfsame voice

Not to the keyboard and its posted letters

But to those unstopped ears alert and listening.

Long may those words ring clear in a lively mind.


To Rene Sorman, who worked in retirement as my secretary while medical adviser.


26 March 1987

For photographs see A Visit to India - 1984 -