17th July 2023

I have finally tested positive for covid-19 and I can now share in the experience of so many other sufferers in a new way. One of my symptoms is that, although I remember what I was going to write about, the words simply will not organize themselves. So instead, here is a poem by Michael Rosen who suffered from covid more severely than most people who have lived to tell the tale.

Nick Parsons

These are the Hands

for the 60th anniversary of the NHS

These are the hands
That touch us first
Feel your head
Find the pulse
And make your bed.

These are the hands
That tap your back
Test the skin
Hold your arm
Wheel the bin
Change the bulb
Fix the drip
Pour the jug
Replace your hip.

These are the hands
That fill the bath
Mop the floor
Flick the switch
Soothe the sore
Burn the swabs
Give us a jab
Throw out sharps
Design the lab.

And these are the hands
That stop the leaks
Empty the pan
Wipe the pipes
Carry the can
Clamp the veins
Make the cast
Log the dose
And touch us last.

Michael Rosen.

Reproduced by permission of United Agents (www.unitedagents.co.uk) on behalf of the author.