I have this jewel of common good
A proof of social capital
Where every sick, poor, fat, doomed, soul
Is treated as individual
A simple pearl of light done right
Global beacon of the practical
This human rumour, shared response
My catchall public collateral
Has gifted our forebears the wealth of health
And pledged my heirs theirs in perpetual
My gem of preciousness nearly unique
Endows a nation; achievable
Lately the state, for private account,
Seeks to plunder this bounty – sly and piecemeal
I feel their reach, their devious claw
The foetid breath, the nocturnal,
And fear a loss so great and deep.
Still, I doubt these Devils unstoppable
Young children unsure of the benefits of sun-lamps, Bristol health centre, July 1948.
Clarity arrives, in from the rain
just as the nurse jabs a prominent vein.
Glibly you joke on the weight of the rain
and quietly – in solitude and briefly –
you’re allowed to reflect on the weight in those veins.
Coolly these fabulous drugs run their course.
Deeply they permeate down to the cause.
Gooey and caustic, all reaching of course,
by killing you slowly – from inside and minutely –
the medics explain that they’re killing the cause.
Just as the last drops of drip flow within
I’m drawn to the bruise that remains on a skin.
To ponder the reason and drive that’s within,
where to find a direction – and place to direct
the future of you, once clean to the skin.