She didn’t follow the advice scrawled on the door.


Letters lingering down the corridor.

A late-night shift, the lift broken and fouled.

Her bag, full of nursing studies,

Weighed more than she did.

Working hard to do her job, still just a kid.

The Marker-pen in a tattooed hand

Suggested he had been doing his.


They didn’t speak, so he didn’t hear the accent – local,

Born in the same town as him.

Just different colour skin.

Fate would determine what was to come.

Years would pass  before Lockdown began!


The crowded clinic pulsed with trolleys in perpetual motion,

Conveying motionless people, as numbers swell

The unremitting hell.

Monitors murmur hidden warnings as

Tubes and cables snake their way from bed to bed,

And all the while a masked smile hidden from view.

Those eyes spoke volumes. Who knew? Who knew?

The nursing instinct to touch, feel,

Explore the possibilities in these early stages.

The selfless sacrifice to care, when P.P.E. was not there.


‘Come on my lovely, lets sort you out,’ always her mantra                                                                         

To those in doubt who worry they may not survive.

A  gloved hand on the shoulder;

Oxygen administered to relieve breathlessness,

Calm reassurance through  a battery of tests.

On patient recovery from I.C.U. she led the applause,

With colleagues who serve the noble cause of healing.


It’s strange how things travel with you, the hand hanging limply

From a gown when they first  set him down, the image of

That tattoo  burned into her memory,

Still recognisable from all those years ago.

Nurses have feelings too, you know.




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Greg Freeman

Wed 9th Sep 2020 09:11

Lovely poem, Trevor. Says it all. The best and worst of England. Very sorry I missed this first time around.

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