Let the News be your Muse. Send your news-inspired poems to poetry24ed@gmail.com

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Who Cares?

She's no spring chicken, my daughter,
and she never misses a visit.
Three buses, to get here,
and busy roads to cross.
I want to get well for her,
to see the last
of her faraway smile.
If I could just reach the bell.

She brushes my hair, my daughter,
and she never pulls a knot.
Three nurses, I get here,
and I make them cross.
I want to stay dry for them,
to call the last
of my cries for help.
If they could just reach out a hand.

She's no spring chicken, my daughter,
and I never see her weep.
Trusted Trinity, she brings here,
and her little silver cross.
I want to pray with her,
to plea for the last
of my childish traits.
If I could just reach home.

© Martin Hodges

NHS 'failing to treat elderly with care and respect'


  1. Having gone through this myself with my own father, I am greatly moved by this piece. We have serious complaints with our own health care service for the elderly in Canada and when my father was ill, I posted an article http://hyggedigter.blogspot.com/2008/09/state-of-long-term-care.html

    It is coming to us all and we need to find a way to allow the elderly to pass away with dignity, not merely hole them up in tiny rooms, maintaining the minimum of hygienic care, until they can be carted off and disposed of.

    It always comes back to money, doesn't it—who can pay the most to have the best care. That's just not right when each individual has contributed in some way to the society from which they came. War veterans, teachers, artists are all on equal-footing now if they have no money. Once-clever and determined people are now weak and vulnerable and at the mercy of systems that seem to want only one thing—lots of cash.

    I could go on, but I want to read some more of the poetry here.


  2. Having worked for 3 awful weeks in a care home years ago and having watched the news last night, this poem is horribly pertinent. I love the way the repeated lines echo an older person's way of speaking.

  3. Kat - Your article struck a chord. Everyone has a horror story. My beloved grandmother was admitted with a chest complaint. At 91, she was doing okay, until someone dropped a gas bottle on her legs. Our complaint was noted, and recorded as a systemic failure. No one was found to be directly responsible.

    BB - Thanks. Who would ever choose to end their days to a daytime TV theme tune?

  4. This is a beautiful and poignant poem - the last line especially rings true. Old age is certainly not for the faint of heart, especially in our society at the moment.

  5. Your poem feels so very personal for me. As I watch my mother's health slowly erode, I am filled with constant dread and worry. Horror stories regarding care of the elderly happen frequently here, too. This says something deeply profound about our nation as a whole, and it's very disturbing.