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Got The T-Shirt: A Price Too High (Carers’ Rap?)

This brilliant and compassionate poem by Steph Spiers highlights the plight of those who care, and go on caring and caring, for loved ones no longer able to care for themselves.

When the price demanded by love is too high,
long days - short days - years passing by,
Carers holdfast: taking up the slack,
sleeves rolled up, they’re on their jack.

Unqualified nurses’ demanded sacrifice.
‘Try more tea dear, come on be nice!’
Teetering on the edge of personal abyss,
Wailing inside, keening for what they miss.

With no let up on the morrow,
just another day of toil and sorrow.
Slogging hard from early light,
with every frustration and another fight.

Carers always die first, statistics show
worn out, defeated, always on the go.
While unburdened, the ‘cared for one’
happily lives on and on and on and on.

Not ‘Voluntary’ work! Just unpaid.
Bowed and broken: nerves shot and frayed.
Shattered, living on a different planet,
Every sacrificial hour tested to the limit.

Caring isn’t a choice, it’s not a ‘vocation’.
There’s no chance of a fat promotion,
no direct lines of communication.
No-one sane signs up for tribulation.

Without respite, without let up,
day in, day out. Over spilling cup,
losing their own life’s inner beauty,
caught on a spiral of love and duty.

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