CARE

I am a rare English nurse in my team,

Working amongst the kindest, the most patient, the young,

And those over from the Philippines, Poland, Sri Lanka, Kerela, Romania and Nepal,

To care for the British old. 

Night after night we clean up incontinence,

Cream, papery white skin,

Turn skeletal limbs, to stop sores,

Bring tea, hold bony gnarled hands,

Feed ham sandwiches, creamy fruit yoghurts, shortbread, cake

To those in shadowy lit worlds, between the living and dead

Who no longer recognise their children

And call out for their long dead mothers.

We hold their unease, their dislocation.

We are greeted with screams and scratches, sometimes kisses and ‘darlings’

Moments of recognition, of laughter and an occasional song

Eyes glazed and scared, where am I, what’s wrong? 

Those who come to judge, forget to notice our care.

We are checked for records, targets, evidence for court,

Piles and piles of written justifications

As though we were the guilty ones.

This is the tragedy, the lack of belief

An absence of trust, 

A desire to blame.

Misunderstanding the passage of time,

The inevitability of death

And the soaring, overriding, magnitude…

Of love and what love can truly mean.

Author: LUCY CALCOTT

I write poetry, children's stories and the occasional article. I am also a painter and usually work in acrylic and water based crayon. I love colour but also enjoy using charcoal. I am principally interested in an emotional or spiritual response to landscape but I like figures too. In my writing I am searching for a contemporary religious female voice which is tolerant and open hearted as an antidote to the cynicism of our time. I have a MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University and have had poetry published in various journals. I also have a small collection of poems in print; Magdalene and other poems. I have exhibited paintings and poetry locally in Eastbourne and the surrounding area and with Christian Arts nationally. I am also a nurse and a mother of three grown up children. I am active in the interfaith movement.

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