Picket Line Poems

Owen Collins’ poems in support of Junior Doctors…

Owen Collins is a poet and playwright with a firm belief in socialism, love at first sight, and not having to pay to use the toilet at major railway termini. His poetry has appeared in publications from The Times to The Occupied Times, and has been taught in schools from Chichester to Hamburg. He finds this last part as surprising as you probably do.

Royal London

The wind carries a turquoise sticker
Across the picket line,
And on the same breeze
Comes car horns, truck horns, bike bells and bus horns,
Hooted, tooted shows of support.

It’s cold,
And I can’t feel my toes,
Or my fingers.
But I can feel… Something else.

The turquoise sticker is still swirling in the slipstream,
Dancing in the updraft.
Signs are made. Placards are raised
To the rumbling grey Whitechapel skies.
The rain shall not pass. Not today.

GUM registrars, anaesthetists and GPs huddle together,
Junior Doctors and their patients stand together.
Banners are hung up. Pastries are passed round,
And high above,
Outside the deep blue mosaic windows,
The turquoise sticker is still floating,

Carried by a wind
Which wafts and drifts round the Royal London,
Which is blowing and transmitting the support
That is still sounding,
From scooters, cyclists and cement mixers.
They’re behind you.

The wind is behind you.
It’s blowing in your direction.
A change is coming. Victory is coming.
It’s in the air.

We Stand With You

We stand with you.
And those of us who can’t stand
Will sit with you,
And lie with you,
Until you can make them stand
Which you can,
And you will,
And when you do,
We stand with you.

You’ve got our backs.
And our ribs and our skulls,
Our femurs and our tumours,
Our tarsals and our carpals,
Our kidneys and our lungs,
Our hearts and our minds.
We entrust ourselves to you,
So entrust yourself to us.
You’ve got our backs,
And we stand with you.

We’re in your hands.
And in your minds,
We’re in every detail of expert precision,
We’re in every case of free provision,
We are in the dedication you provide,
In the acres of knowledge for which you strive
For years and years.
You make us strong,
You keep us safe,
You save our lives,
And all the time,
We’re in your hands,
You’ve got our backs,
So we stand with you.

You’re on our case.
And on our wards and on our streets
And on our wavelengths and our beats,
And we are on your side,
And on your picket line today,
And we will stand up, proud to say,
That we are with you all the way.
You’re on our case,
We’re in your hands,
You’ve got our backs
And we’ve got yours too,
And we will stand with you.