Great North Run Hall of Fame poems

The Tracks of His Tears

Is it the disharmonies of Nick Clegg’s job

that cause him to sonorously sob?

Sniffling about the public service pay cuts plan,

whilst listening to “Don’t Pay The Ferryman”,

A little boo hoo

brought on by “Would I Lie To You?”.

Is it Tears for Fears

he hears?

Oh, Nick how thou weepest

on hearing “The First Cut Is The Deepest”.

Thatcher not blubbing til her exit makes her

seem meaner,

or maybe she just never played

“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”.

A Natural Listening Break

We’re the government and we’re taking some

listening exercise.

Think of us as a big, thick, flexing ear.

A gigantic auditory muscle,

that exists just to hear

you.

We’ll be a vast shell like spy satellite

focused on you day and night.

Not a scary, spy,

the sort that injects you with Uranium

until your brains fry,

but a friendly spy,

like one of the blonde ones off Spooks.

We want to listen to you gently.

We want to listen to you as intently

as the News of the World listens

to celebrity voicemails.

Our hearing will be so acute

we will hear the heartbeat of the Universe,

the clinking of the coppers left in the public purse,

the anxious pulse of a specialist nurse,

the screeching sound of another policy U turn.

We will listen until our ears burn.

We’re not like those governments that won’t listen

to what their citizens say,

we blast those loudly

until they go away.

We want to listen

to all women and all men,

but with us just talking there,

about how much we care,,

er…what was it you were saying again?

You Don’t Look Like A Runner

You? You couldn’t run for a bus
or to the end of our street.
You haven’t got the right shoes,
You haven’t got the right feet,

you make Jabba the Hutt look graceful,
you just weren’t Born to Run,
you couldn’t pace set for a snail,
you’re more funeral than fun.

You’re more gradual than evolution,
slower than a three toed sloth’s brain,
you suffer more delays than
a GNER train.

You are…well you’re hefty,
you’ve got wobbly bits and breasts
and bingo wings and lumps
that weren’t designed for vests.

Your only experience of half a Marathon,
is scoffing a renamed chocolate bar,
if you could you’d get to your kitchen
by driving there in your car.

I reply with all the numbers,
the pounds that I will lose
the pounds that I will make
the calories I will use.

The 50 000 other runners,
the 30 years of history,
the 21 water stations,
the millions raised for charity.

But I don’t have to be a mathematician either,
and reach for numbers ever bigger,
to show the impressive shrinkage
in my sweating or my figure.

I don’t have to be an athlete,
I don’t have to make like Zola Budd,
I don’t have to beat a record
in order to feel good.

I just want to feel connected,
to be part of something more,
to train my body and my mind
to reach something they’ve never
reached before

I still won’t look like a runner,
and a runner won’t look like me
but when I’ve done my 13 miles
a Great North Runner is what I’ll be.

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Saturday Live 9/4 poems

The Tracks of His Tears

Is it the disharmonies of Nick Clegg’s job
that cause him to sonorously sob?
Sniffling about the public service pay cuts plan,
whilst listening to “Don’t Pay The Ferryman”,
A little boo hoo
brought on by “Would I Lie To You?”.
Is it Tears for Fears
he hears?
Oh, Nick how thou weepest
on hearing “The First Cut Is The Deepest”.
Thatcher not blubbing til her exit makes her
seem meaner,
or maybe she just never played
“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”.

A Natural Listening Break

We’re the government and we’re taking some
listening exercise.
Think of us as a big, thick, flexing ear.
A gigantic auditory muscle,
that exists just to hear
you.

We’ll be a vast shell like spy satellite
focused on you day and night.

Not a scary, spy,
the sort that injects you with Uranium
until your brains fry,
but a friendly spy,
like one of the blonde ones off Spooks.

We want to listen to you gently.
We want to listen to you as intently
as the News of the World listens
to celebrity voicemails.
Our hearing will be so acute
we will hear the heartbeat of the Universe,
the clinking of the coppers left in the public purse,
the anxious pulse of a specialist nurse,
the screeching sound of another policy U turn.
We will listen until our ears burn.

We’re not like those governments that won’t listen
to what their citizens say,
we blast those loudly
until they go away.

We want to listen
to all women and all men,
but with us just talking there,
about how much we care,,
er…what was it you were saying again?

Poetry In Motion

Different Bodies, Different Needs

Send in the clones,
we’re all the same,
made to order in a factory,
oh, no hang on,
that’s not real life,
it’s a sci fi programme
on TV.

Back in Real Life,
His ears are hairy,
her fingers are long,
his toenails are scary,
her nostrils are wrong.

We are as various as snowflakes,
unique as our fingerprint,
we’re individual as home bakes
not copied by laser print.

My life is contained in little boxes,
my house, my passport,
my bed,
my car parking space,
my census form,
but there’s no boxes in my head.

I agree to the little boxes,
that all look just the same,
and my body fits them obligingly,
but they’ll never house my brain.

So don’t send in the clones,
though we might fit in our box-
there are as many keys
as there are locks.

Our bodies are all different,
And we all have different needs,
6 billion different trees
growing from 6 billion different seeds.

But there is one gift
That everybody
values just the same,
Being recoognised as an individual,
Unique body, unique brain.

And whether you’re really useful
Like a clinical nurse specialist,
Or pointless like a poet,
Your individual presence would be missed.

patients are as different as the scarves
of a female Coloplast employee,
And thrive when they know their similarities and their differences
Are something others choose to see.

Instructions for Demonstrating Your Value

Step One;

Create a statistic or graph about what you do.
74 % of people will think this can accurately
demonstrate your value.
96% of nurses will need to eat cake or chocolate
after doing this.

Step Two;

Eat the cake.

Step Three;

Listen to those voices in your head
that sound when you allow yourself
to think you might actually be worth alot,
The ones that said “No you’re not”
The ones that said;
“Don’t blow your own trumpet”
or
“Don’t get too big for your boots”

Step Four;

Talk back to the voices.
Tell them times have moved on.
Women now have lots more choices.
One of them is the option of not being cut down to size,
by those who fear tall, beautiful poppies
growing before their eyes.

Step Five;

Repeat Step Two

Step Six

Find a quiet place. Breathe.
Picture that colorectal nurse in the States
who earns 200 thousand dollars a year,
remember you can get a much better cup of tea over here.
Drink the cup of tea.
Use that time you were going to surf the net
looking for houses in Florida with outdoor swimming pools,
to write another item on your job plan
telling any managers looking to get rid of you
why they’d be fools.

Step Seven

Do it before they’ve thought of getting rid of you.

Step Eight

Find a cuddly toy that looks a bit creepy.
Imagine it is a management figure
or someone who doesn’t get the worth of what you do.
Sit it on the desk at eye level.
Tell it in a firm, clear voice that you are
nobody’s Trophy clinical wife,
and that if you were a trophy
you would be an F.A Cup,
which has to be won and deserved not just once
but every year for life.

Step Nine

Repeat Step Two

Step Ten

Have a bubble bath,
paint your toenails blue,
ask somebody you love
to do something kind for you.
It’s not a luxury to look after your health,
just a demonstration of valuing yourself.

Step Eleven

Re read an email or letter
in which somebody thanked you
for making their life better.
Copy out some sentences from it
in your own hand,
put them on a post it note,
and stick it somewhere where you will see it every day.
Make yourself quote
those sentences to someone
who works in an office with spider plants
and framed art prints in it.

Step Twelve

On a day when you want to duck your head
back below that non existent parapet,
because you’re having a bad hair day, a bad care day,
or you’ve been binge thinking;
Breathe.
Tell yourself that it’s normal to sometimes forget
what you are worth
but keep the reminders near,
so they will form a trail of breadcrumbs
that you cannot fail to follow on happier days.

Step Thirteen

Appoint a friend or colleague
who knows how great you are,
draw up a list of valuable things they do
then get them to draw up a list for you,
tell them they’re a star.
Carry on even if it makes you feel icky,
or makes you want to throw a sickie,
or makes you feel like an American
or a salesman
or anybody out of whom you’d usually
take the mickey.

Step Fourteen

Give yourself full
credit for an idea or innovation you have had.
Sentences like “Well it was all down to the team”
or “It was all thanks to my newsagent really”
or “It was because of my cousin’s gene
and because Tuesday was a good day for Capricorns”
are banned.
Put it in your annual report.

*

The Geordies have contributed
much to the world
of that there is no doubt,
you may particularly need the saying;
“Shy bairns get nowt”.
The time for modesty
is over,
the time for silencing your trumpet is through.
only you can do your job,
CSN’s- The world needs you!
Remind them you’re not just bag ladies,
don’t pretend you’re not a poppy who grew,
there’s so much more that you have to offer,
than the ticks in a box called value.
But tick that box you must,
for your patients and for your sake,
and remember if all else fails,
be kind to yourself
and eat cake.

Stoma Means Mouth

Stoma means mouth,
but a mouth in a different place,
something that overturns our expectations,
can be difficult to face.

Stoma nurses need to be mouths,
mouths somewhere new
speaking for patients, speaking to Doctors
who might not expect to hear from you.

You can be a mouth that’s been rerouted,
you can speak where there’s a gap,
but unlike many other stomas
yours aren’t spewing crap.

If you hear managers talking rubbish,
or know you’re being under rated,
it’s hard to ensure the culprits
are anally irrigated.

Speak from your stoma,
document what’s there
extend your influence as far
as Dame Catherine’s hair.

Stoma means mouth,
but a mouth in a different place,
something that overturns our expectations,
can be difficult to face.

No decisions about me without me,
that’s what a patient might ask of you
so be a stoma, don’t stay silent,
let your words ring out, stay true.