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As lockdown is eased, yet shielding measures for many are extended, we wanted to share a poem with you from our guest writer Michael.
ADVICE TO BUREAUCRATS
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.
Just adding the sense of dismissal, anger and frustration felt because of the relatively cavalier attitude of those not required to shield, especially as lockdown eases for them.
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