Friday, 15 February 2013


Moving & Handling:
Facilitating a person to move.
The clue is in the title
(easy to miss I suppose).
I had ten years or more of hearing:
Ops! shouldn’t say manual handling
then that nervous laugh,
missing the point by a mile.
It could have been my fault,
slowly sinking into a rut of repetition,
it could have been the situation,
so much to do in little time,
an inevitable loss of reflection.
So care staff get by,
discounting all but the task in hand,
a pragmatic double think;
it should be done like that but
today it must be done like this.
They bend their backs to save their time,
years later blame the pain on themselves,
not the system and what it takes from us,
reliant as it is on our need to care,
it expects all and gives back zero.
Never the managers,
who run to stand still,
spouting the management mantra of that moment,
holding it together as it falls apart.

This is not a finished poem, the feeling is there but the form is incomplete, not sure about the triple rhyme in the middle for one thing. I am not going to give you the background, instead I shall just ask for your thoughts. All I am going to say it is relates to a very specific situation.

a phantom phone call
heard in dream
or through thin partition wall

I remember other nights
newly liberated from your tyranny
four o’clock phone calls
the caller withheld the number
I knew who it was
felt sad for them almost
reduced to a pathetic equation
if I’m awake he can be
all in the past now
so much bad history

I dial and discover what I suspected
no call, just my thin sleep
that has evaporated around me
dawn will come eventually

A set of real incidents that coalesced into what you read. In the first draft it had a description of my telephone a refurbished Bakelite affair, nearly twice as old as I am. It had to go though as it did not advice the conceit. Again, I’d been interested in your opinions.

Until next week. 


  1. I very much liked the moving and handling poem. I felt you got at the dichotomy between the doing the job and the it's a person not a piece of furniture. I felt that the worlds you used were understated, meaning that I was allowed to think about what you wanted to say/what I wanted to receive from the poem. There was a sense that behind the mechanical working is a person- even as behind the 'body to be moved' is also a person. Both need to be recognised. The roles are just outer adjuncts. OK, may have got this 'wrong' but that's what I thought.

  2. Carol, thank you for your sensitive words. it is about the bind that care staff find themselves in, small amount of time to do a task involving another human and the clock ticking. The whole of the caring profession runs on the good will of its staff and they receive scant recognition.