Two Poems

By Marguerite Grey

Homage to the heroes

Thank you for clapping,
thank you for caring,
I am the nurse whom you honour each day,
but I am no hero,
I am no angel,
I am like you in every way.

I am a mother,
I am a father,
I am a daughter, a brother, a friend.
Yes, my work is my calling,
my vocation is caring,
but my work is the means to pay bills in the end.

The choice is not there for one such as I.
Should I work? Should I not?
Should I stay home and hide?
No, my family needs feeding
and people need healing
and it falls on nurses like me to provide.

But I am a human,
just like any other,
and I deserve more than to be just cast aside,
I need protection,
the means to survive and the means to provide.

Please, don’t tell me I’m special,
a hero,
a soldier,
don’t talk of the battle, the mission, the war.
Don’t stand for a moment in quiet reflection,
recalling the fallen and counting the score.

These moments of reverence, t
hese small acts of homage,
they fill me with dread, they fill me with fear.
They assign me the status of hero
and therefore…
assign me the status of victim of war.

Is this what you’re saying?
Is my future over?
Has my fate been sealed and there’s nought to be done?
Whilst caring for those who are sick, old and needy,
there’s a price I must pay
and my war can’t be won?

But no!
There are choices each day that are taken
by all those who lead us,
by those who select
which option to follow, which game plan is wisest,
protection? resources?
support or neglect?

So clap if you want to
but would you be willing
to speak out to those
with my future in hand?
For it’s those with the status and power who can save me,
with their choice of resources, decisions and plans.

Yes, clap if you want to,
but clapping won’t fix it,
so let’s all speak out now with one voice loud and clear,
provide for those nurses, those doctors and carers
who provide love and care for the ones you hold dear.

Genuine concern

Ten months in
and the virus worse than ever.
Our heroes continue
their unrelenting mission.
Weary now,
at breaking point.
I hear the call has gone out,
let’s clap for them again.
Yet a few months back
the silence was deafening,
their pleas for the right to an existence
went unheard.
My saucepan lids
will not be lifted this time.
I for one will not insult them
with meaningless gestures.

I am a retired Primary School Head teacher living in County Durham, North East England. The pandemic has been the catalyst which has seen a life-time love of reading poetry develop into writing my own.

The isolation enforced on us by Covid 19 created space and time for me to reflect, not only on the pandemic, but on the human condition, our different beliefs and responses to the events that life throws at us. As one of those troubled souls who yearns for social equality and justice, my urge to put pen to paper in these difficult times shouldn’t have surprised me in the way it did. Writing poetry has been therapeutic, providing a channel of expression for the whole range of human emotions. Since last March , I have written over thirty poems, with ideas for two more currently simmering away in back of my mind. Now that I’ve started, I don’t seem able to stop!

“Homage to the Heroes” was the first poem I wrote. At a time when front line workers were desperate for adequate PPE and were working long hours for little money, I was dismayed by, what to my mind, wast the insincerity of those in power and so I felt compelled to write. Little did I think I would return to that same topic in January 2021 with “Genuinely concerned”. Despite the feelings which prompted me to write those two poems, I am not totally consumed with despair, I am also heartened by the altruism of human beings everywhere My poem “Where hope lies” was written at the end of 2020 with a genuine belief in the power of human kindness and a feeling that all will be well.

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Sophie J
10 months ago

“i am like you in every way”….there’s something in the claps that put distance between you and me, a clap for the work you do and not the humanity that aches to be seen. thank you for sharing your experience here, if just a poem, if just a moment, it’s held near and dear…

Rosemary Woodall
Rosemary Woodall
10 months ago

Thoughtful. Moving. Revealing. Expressive. I could go on. Wonderful first poems promising so much more. I look forward to the sequels. Thank you.

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