I was riding my bike past some great big houses with great big ‘thank you NHS’ signs. I made an unknown – though not unreasonable – judgement that some of the signs may come from households that proudly put this government in power. The notion of great big blue bleeding hearts on show for all to see made me rage and made me laugh. Things started pinging and a few pedal strokes later:
Look at us clap – oh isn’t it nice? Noise from the hands that twisted the knife.
I stopped and scribbled. Behind me a postman pulled up and unlocked a postbox. I cycled a little, stopped for a little and scribbled some more. And more. My eyes weren’t on the pretty villages and spring flowers that day – they were turned inward watching words appear hot and red against my skull. At home I started typing.
It’s taken me a few weeks of fiddling but now I want to share the thing that started on a bike ride in Surrey.
NHS oh NHS
I’ve got to get this off my chest
I felt a tickle years ago
It seems I’ve been a little slow
The waiting lists they put me off
I passed my time in online shops
Next day parcels primed and boxed
Crime and murder must be watched
Gasping on the sofa sprawled
We hid the greatest crime of all
A common bunch who carry knives
Brandished cases costing lives
Look at them clap – isn’t it nice?
Noise from the hands that twisted the knife
Hacking and slashing and cutting for years
Passing a motion and belting out cheers
Brexit helped to hide the screams
A nation bled behind the scenes
The circus came to every home
Filled up with those stars you know
Gove and Mogg and Duncan Smith
That Mrs May they forced to quit
A clown who came to lead the party
What a hoot! What great malarky!
Look at him lying and struggle to breathe
He’s been sick for a while with another disease
And now it doesn’t seem so sensible
For a clown to lead a funeral.
Fight it! Beat it! Churchill’s ghost
He loves the sound of every note
“There are casualties in every war!”
Except no battle’s being fought
They turned the gun they hung the rope
We let them put it round our throat
Now the ones that sunk the blade
Are the ones we turn in hope we’re saved
But we’re the ones that raised the cross
Erected at the ballot box
Echos of their Christmas cheer
Silenced in a spring of fear
Judas children want their eggs
But none are left now only dregs
Happy Easter – will you die?
Call your grandma, say goodbye
She’s with our heroes – she’ll be safe
We’ve got them covered – my mistake
We have a cure for HIV
But can’t deliver PPE
We’re trying hard – we really care
We really really – don’t you dare.
And don’t we dare say this is new
For years we all ignored the clues
Grenfell burned we watched the flames
And still we didn’t get enraged
Let’s keep calm – lets wait and see
Trust in their enquiry
Nothing. Blameless. No one’s fault.
A nation’s sick without revolt
I’d rather play with my erection
Take it out onto the streets!
Let’s stay and order Uber Eats
It’s warmer here in our front room
What a lovely comfy doom
Now it’s 8pm on Thursday night
We’ll clap again so that’s alright
A noise so loud it hurts my ears
From hands that put us into rent arrears
Not me – oh no – I’m stuck at home
A grown up child that will not go
Thank god for my parents’ mortgage
I’m self employed I can’t afford it
Remember – there’s no magic money tree
You crackpot fool old Jeremy
You stalinist you enemy
Thank you kindly BBC
The evening news on ITV
Shout so loud you’ll all turn blue
Like Murdoch’s Sky The Sun’s his too
Oh so bright we’re blinded, see?
Dazzled by celebrity
Look at the sportsmen, stare at the stars!
They’ll save us with their fancy cars
Those paper Gods you turned to pray
In paradise are tucked away
The page is flipped, the tables turned
We’re counting on the ones we spurned
The ones who post and pack and stack
The ones you shouted SEND THEM BACK
Packers, posties, blokes with bins
Hail to you our new found kings
God save you, your mum and dad
Our Royal Mail – that Harry lad
Sorry that we always missed you
Now stand back there so we can kiss you
And at 8pm we’ll even clap
So stick around to hear all that
But will it help to pay your bills?
Could they stop you getting ill?
And if they could – perhaps they won’t
For clowns will only ever joke
Though money cannot pay the cost
Of all the lives that we have lost
We’d profit if we learned a lesson
The answer lives inside a question:
JOHNSON WILL YOU PAY THEIR DUE?
Because without them there’d be no you
NHS oh NHS
Thanks for helping ease my chest
I promise I won’t wait so long
I’ll use my lungs to say what’s wrong
But I won’t clap – I think I’ll wait
To hold your hand in mine and shake
And show I’ve learned from my mistakes
Not to drink the oil of snakes
And one last thing – I’ll make it quick
I really hope that this will stick:
They made us poor and now we’re sick
This mess is up to us to fix.
By Ismar Badžić