Poetry Sunday: People Who Take Care

We recently watched what I thought was a brilliant comedic series on HBO called "Getting On." The setting is an extended care facility for elderly women in a hospital in California. The series focuses on the stories of the ill and often confused patients and the overworked and underpaid staff, their relationships and interactions. The stories are told with great humor but with an underlying compassion and a real empathy for the people in this facility. I loved the series - which probably means it will never make it to a second season, but we'll see.

I mention this show because I just came across a poem this week which perfectly expresses the spirit of "Getting On," and so, it had to be my featured poem of the week.

People Who Take Care 

by Nancy Henry

People who take care of people
get paid less than anybody
people who take care of people
are not worth much
except to people who are
sick, old, helpless, and poor
people who take care of people
are not important to most other people
are not respected by many other people
come and go without much fuss
unless they don’t show up
when needed
people who make more money
tell them what to do
never get shit on their hands
never mop vomit or wipe tears
don’t stand in danger
of having plates thrown at them
sharing every cold
observing agonies
they cannot tell at home
people who take care of people
have a secret
that sees them through the double shift
that moves with them from room to room
that keeps them on the floor
sometimes they fill a hollow
no one else can fill
sometimes through the shit
and blood and tears
they go to a beautiful place, somewhere
those clean important people
have never been.


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