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This is a poem I wrote in response to seeing Ken Loach’s award winning film:

I, Daniel Blake

A kind of winter
crept into the cinema
even though it’s not really
that cold yet
still something icy
froze us to our seats
in shock
as the credits rolled
to the sound of sobbing

People refused to move,
their hearts and minds
melting in a desperate attempt
to warm this winter of the soul
that reached deeper than bones
Bodies had to patiently wait
until their owners
could give them enough attention
to walk them out into the car park
and drive them home
To open the computer and find out
who’d been voted off x factor
as a way to distract them from the pain
of the shame seeping in
through the gaps of unused moments
to ask them why they should be the ones
to escape the kind of hunger
that claws at a cold tin of baked beans
and takes away all your furniture
leaving only a single
lovingly crafted wooden fish mobile
hanging by the window
as proof that the spirit
could still fly
even if there was now nowhere to sit

The health questions
didn’t ask about the condition
of his heart so apparently
you don’t need one
to do the kind of job
they’re asking you to prove
you’ve spent 37 hours a week
looking for and if not well
that’s not good enough

So I wonder
if they should spend 37 hours a week
looking for their own hearts
which they seemed to have mislaid
on their way to work
or maybe they’re required
to put them in staff room lockers
when they clock in
and only take them out again
when they head home
to be with their loved ones

Because, no, it’s not good enough
to cry and swear
and say how terrible
it’s time to be citizens
just as he continued to insist on being
in spite of it all
Enough words
It’s time to do something