As lockdown is eased, yet shielding measures for many are extended, we wanted to share a poem with you from our guest writer Michael.


It falls to you to draft a shielding letter

Of weighty pages, not too clear, for someone

Who has an underlying health condition,

The relevance of which he may not know.

Ensure you couch the information in

Alarmist terms, including dicta aimed

At other people rather than himself;

Omit important pertinent personal details,

Above all why he is included in

This current noble process; for best results

Print out a list of all diseases known

To indicate great vulnerability

Yet have no claim on his known dispositions;

Don’t mention why the letter might be sent

Well after start of lockdown, nor if the clearly

Arbitrary shielding timespan has been

Amended in the light of such delay.

At all costs guard your anonymity

That he will not be able to contest

Assertions you have made about his health.

To cast a meagre frisson of unease,

Dispatch your letter as an email attachment,

Adopt an unfamiliar sender address

And do not greet the recipient by his name.

’Tis good, of course, that caring bureaucrats

Like you display heartfelt concern for him;

As long as you include words such as care

And safety you will be, although remote,

Acknowledged for your calming of his fears.

He’ll see the silver lining in the end

And register upon the national website

That he is vulnerable. He’ll realize:

To you he’s grateful that his direst miseries

Are mitigated by on-line deliveries.  - Michael, 17 May 2020

Do Michael’s words speak to you?

Why not share a comment below.

Thank you to Michael from all of us here at The Community Team. We all must continue to work hard to support those affected by cancer in these difficult times and such poignant words hopefully help people to stay feeling connected.