Talking FreELY Tuesday: The poetry competition winner

At the second Talking FreELY pop-up cafe event on Saturday, Fenland Poet Laureate Kate Arthur announced the winner of our poetry competition. All of the entries were magnificent, but the judges agreed that this one stood out. The winner read her poem aloud and everyone present was absorbed. We want to share it here with you.

A job like the rest
Is what they all see
You work hard you get paid
You’re no different from me

You put on your uniform
Each day the same
You know any error made
You’ll be to blame

Your first job rolls in
A man wants to die
On the edge of a car park
70ft height

No ones aware
Of your panic inside
Your shit scared of heights
But your fear you must hide

So you approach with caution
Try to reason with the man
But his mind is made up
You’ve done all that you can

He steps off the ledge
Tumbles down to the ground
There’s a thud then there’s nothing
No ones making a sound

That silence will haunt you
another life gone
But there’s no time to dwell
You have to move on

The next jobs a domestic
Scant details this time
You turn up at the house
Unsure what you will find

The door is ajar
You hear a child cry
But the first thing you see
Is the victims black eye

They pick up the baby
Tell you that they’re ok
You try your hardest to help
But they say go away

The offender will be arrested
But the victim won’t support
Any evidence you get
Will be laughed out of court

You know you’ll be back there
Time after time
You pray a black eye
Is the worse that you’ll find

But deep down you know
You’ll arrive to no cry
Just silence and still
Where a body will lie

You get back in the car
Dispatch pulls you away
There’s no time for food
Just your next job of the day

Next is a burglary
Of a little old dear
You turn up, her face ashen
Her eyes filled with fear
Down the side of her face
Rolls a solitary tear

She only popped over
To the lady next door
She returns, spots the damage
The glass on the floor

They’ve been in her bedroom
Ransacked all through her drawers
Been through all of the cupboards
Ripped off one of the doors

They’ve taken the lot
All her gold and her rings
Her deceased husbands medals
All her personal things

They have no street value
They won’t fetch a lot
But to that broken old lady
They were all that she’s got

You complete the paperwork
Make her some tea
It’s six o’clock now
You were due off at three

You’re hungry and thirsty
Time to de kit
Head home to your family
Try to relax for a bit

But your mind won’t switch off
It just whirls in your head
You lie still, wide awake
Feeling restless in bed

On what feels like only
A short moments sleep
You wake with a start
Your alarm starts to beep

You’re exhausted, run down
Your mind feels unsteady
But there’s no time to wallow
It’s time to get ready

You step in the shower
Try to wash away
All the worries you carry
From the previous day

But they’re stuck to your body
Clinging on tight
They won’t scrub away
No matter how hard you fight

The years have taken their toll
All the sights that you’ve seen
Because you’re not a robot
You’re a human being

If only they’d realise
That we still have needs
That if we get cut
Then we will still bleed

So next time you judge us
For taking a break
Take a second to think
For goodness sake

Do you get glared at
When ever you stop
To go to the loo
Or grab a drink from a shop?

Sometimes we need support
We’re not asking for praise
Just maybe a smile
To help us through those tough days

We will continue
To wear our uniform with pride
All we ask is remember
There’s a person inside!


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