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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: Fit For Work
By Melanie Kerr
02/01/12


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I try to tell you
Before we begin
That today’s a good day
Tomorrow’s answers might
Change

I appreciate that
You have to claw back money
And close the hole
That some people
Abuse

It may surprise you
That I want to work
The indignity of accepting something
Less than a pay packet
Bites

I have
Two business suits
Hanging in the wardrobe
They remain as yet
Unworn

The look you give me asks
If I am really sick
An outward inspection
Of functioning limbs
Deceives

What you need to do but can’t
Is to gently peel back
Skin and scalp
And see that not all neurons are
Firing

Your questions are cruel
Do I soil myself?
Can I wash my hair?
As if such accomplishments make me
Employable

You have taken my doctor
Out of the equation
His diagnosis and
My medical file
Dismissed

You have slapped
A label on me that doesn’t fit
You distort the truth
And call me a
Scrounger

I am a different species
Distinct from the slothful idlers
The liars and cheats
That milk the
system

You acknowledge
My significant disabilities
But you tick your boxes anyway
And proclaim me fit for
Work

It may have seemed
During our brief time together today
That I can cope
But ask me again
Tomorrow


Author’s Note – The UK Department of Work and Pensions has replaced the Incapacity Benefit with the Employment and Support Allowance. Many people with disabilities have to prove they are unfit for work by submitting to a work capability assessment.


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This article has been read 378 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Camille (C D) Swanson 02/02/12
Wow - this was a powerful entry. I felt as if I was witnessing this entire story before my eyes...Your depiction of the MC feeling demoralized by the questioning, and assessment of the Department, made me feel sad, and I cringed.

WOnderful piece of writing.
Thank you for this.
God Bless~
Yvonne Blake 02/08/12
Oh wow! This is so sad and touching, but written exceptionally well. The haltering rhythm portrays the stuttering words of the disabled person. Well done!
Michael Throne02/09/12
I love this. I like how you make the case so convincingly (peal back skin and scalp...) yet acknowledge the problem (the slothful idlers...that milk the system). Your poem is wonderful. I especially like the ending, how it ties in with the start and is really the heart of the MC's situation. Well done.
Charla Diehl 02/10/12
This speaks for all those that need help and want to retain their dignity too. Great job at painting a realistic picture of the MC's feelings and struggles with a system that fails many. Highly commended--absolutely!
Camille (C D) Swanson 02/10/12
Congrats. God Bless~