Wordview 2021: A Kilo of Sugar is always a Kilo of Sugar

I’m told to take my life like medicine, to dissolve life

in orange squash, and that life in bicarbonate of soda

can easily get stains out. That life doesn’t just happen,

that life is a series of decisions; and if it came to my life

or a healthy person’s, doctors can choose any life over my life,

because the quality of my life has been undervalued.

 

How they prise apart segments of my life like a satsuma.

How they feast on my life inside textbooks, how important

my life sounds until DNR forms blare like smoke detectors.

They’ll watch life leave me and do nothing to stop her –

not a single hard knock on my chest calling her back:

life life life life life

 

you can’t leave me, you’re all I have – if you go

all I’ll become is an empty house, no an empty street,

no, an empty human. When I lose my life

it’ll be labelled a lesser evil. Why can’t they invite my life

to a meeting? Why can’t they let my life decide

whether or not to sign those papers?

 

Nobody understands how easily life can disappear.

The other terminal girls remind me not to trust doctors,

to read my medical records. We know how simple it is to die –

no food, no water, no medication, a couple of weeks

life life life life life life

will one day escape me, because now the door’s now open.

Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Hannah Hodgson

Hannah Hodgson is a poet & palliative care user who has been shielding since 1st March 2020 to the present day. Her work has been published by BBC Arts, The Poetry Society and Magma, amongst other outlets. She won a Northern Writers Award for Poetry in 2020, and The Poetry Business New Poets Prize in 2021. She has 2 pamphlets, and her 1st full collection is due from Seren in early 2022.

Glossary

A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

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