A recent hip replacement at Ashford hospital inspired Heather Cook to write this poem, below. Although the tone is light, Heather was fascinated by several aspects of her brief sojourn, including the sharing of personal revelations on the women’s ward and the feeling of being cut off from the world. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service



Enid, Sandra, Tina, Sue and me –

How close we grow these short November days,

Believing we will follow diverse roads

We bare our souls through jagged nights of pain.

A wheeze of tight-lipped suffering escapes

From Robert, John and Stan across the way;

No revelations ease them through the night

Or speed the clock hands during empty days.

We gaze across the sterile hinterland

At Tesco’s – more remote than Kathmandu –

And fantasise about the distant dream

Of nipping unaccompanied to the loo.

Heather Cook