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The National Health

By: M.J Hines

About The Poem

This poem is the product of a fractured mind worried about a fractured country, and the issue of who will put the pieces back together afterwards.

It was written right in the heart of lockdown in May 2020, as the sickness that had infected so many also began to expose the weakness in our nation’s political, cultural and economic immune system.

As the National Health Service became the cause that we were all asked to rally around and protect, the phrase ‘The National Health’ seemed to me to carry a lot of potential meanings, not all of which were to do with the virus and its effects.

The Poem

Isolation and distance

Too much hand gel and soap

All the many small rituals

We’re just using to cope


The curve’s peak will soon flatten

This great storm has to break

All they ask from each of us

Is to lie low and wait


So think of all the others

Don’t just think of yourself

It’s all for the protection

Of The National Health


Let’s remember The World Wars

Claim we’re up for this fight

Whilst the parts that are broken

Are dragged into the light


The loved ones we can’t bury

Friends we won’t ever see

All those IVF children

Wiped off our family trees


Is it all for our country

Or each one for them selves?

Let us paint a true picture

Of The National Health


Our high streets are deserted

The shops boarded and shut

What will there be left of us

When our towns open up?


Firms ask for big bailouts

Whilst still firing their staff

The board and their shareholders

Will have had the last laugh




It’s for the economy

The creation of wealth

We’re all just investors

In The National Health


All those people who came here

To find lives on our shores

Now care for our elderly

And drop food at our doors


But when this is all over

Will we ‘take back control’

Will we send them all packing

Or just honour their role?


We clap doctors and nurses

Those who stack up our shelves

But who cares for those caring

For The National Health?


When the gowns and the visors

Just aren’t quite worth the cost

Of the jobs, work and value

Our economy’s lost


Doctors die on the frontlines

And the old in their beds

Does a world that won’t save them

Deserve all that it gets?


But we can’t answer that one

It’s all too much to help

Let’s honour their sacrifice

For The National Health


Once the plague passes over

And the sickness subsides

We the lucky remainder

Will be forced to decide


We will count up the numbers

We will work out the cost

We will all have to balance

What we’ve won and we’ve lost


We will need a good story

For our children, ourselves

Not just claiming we did it

For The National Health

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