Polyps in bay 4

Roll over, you said

and as you rummage

in my rectum, I cling to

a shroud of dignity

like a Chad.  Knuckles

bloodless and tight on

the edge.

Then, you pull out your gloved finger

holding it up in the half baked light.

Brown and bloody.  Polyps, you declare

like you’ve just discovered America.

As your white shirt fades to grey,

I lie here

wondering who you were.

© Jacqui Thatcher 2015

This poem was inspired by an experience that I witnessed many years ago working in a hospital and has great relevance today; the news this morning is spreading the word of a campaign for hospital staff to remember that people need to know who it is they are talking to before being treated.

Nurses, doctors and carers do a great job, often in very difficult circumstances.  Who would want to put themselves in the line of sadness and disease, some of which threaten the staff’s own health?  And yet, we take it for granted that people will be there for us when we are physically or mentally unwell and in need of treatment and care.

But it is worth noting the word I used….people.  Nurses and doctors and all the other staff are people!  They are human and like all of us, juggle thoughts and tasks and sometimes forget that the patients/clients that they are treating are also people with the human desire to be treated with dignity and respect.

There is  talk on the UK news this morning, calling for carers/nurses/doctors etc to introduce themselves to patients.   Kate Granger, a doctor who is suffering from a terminal illness,  started the campaign following her experience as a patient.   I was very moved, hearing about this on the news as it is something that I have experienced, both as a relative and in my previous job as a care giver.   A simple introduction does make such a difference to people who are often feeling very vulnerable and at the mercy of the hospital or care giving staff.  Medical and hospital staff do a great job but sometimes a little reminder brings people back to the reality of their role.

For more information on the campaign:


Forgotten Sundays

Small congregations mumble mourning hymns

and the sweet peeling bell fades.

Why listen now?  The hangover cure is

9.30’s reverent swish of sliding doors,

and lights which buzz life into price tags.

Only touch now, only feel.

10 o’clock’s when dawn breaks

as tills begin to chirrup and sing like blackbirds

and branches heave under their burden of forgotten


When I was a child, shops were mostly closed on a Sunday.  The Church bells would wake me up and we found lots of things to entertain us walking through the countryside, climbing trees but above all, using our imaginations to play.

This poem, though it looks like a lament for the reducing congregations in the local Church, is not; rather it is  a wistful look back at times when I didn’t feel it was necessary to do my food shop on a Sunday, as I frequently do now.

I don’t know if other countries are the same but in the UK, we have a strange policy where you can go into a shop but not buy anything until a certain time – browsing time!  Weird?