These Are The Hands

People have already begun asking why ‘These are the hands’? The idea for the project is to explore creating as large a portrait of the people who make up the NHS as possible. It seemed natural and obvious to use hands as a vehicle as hands are a fundamental way we use to work, communciate and care for each other. What I didn’t know in proposing this originally was that Michael Rosen had written a poem specifically about care and the NHS in 2008. This was first published exclusively in the Guardian. I decided to use the title as a title for the Project itself.

Michael is allowing me to use the poem for the work. Here it is in full.

These are the hands
That touch us first
Feel your head
Find the pulse
And make your bed.
These are the hands
That tap your back
Test the skin
Hold your arm
Wheel the bin
Change the bulb
Fix the drip
Pour the jug
Replace your hip.
These are the hands
That fill the bath
Mop the floor
Flick the switch
Soothe the sore
Burn the swabs
Give us a jab
Throw out sharps
Design the lab.
And these are the hands
That stop the leaks
Empty the pan
Wipe the pipes
Carry the can
Clamp the veins
Make the cast
Log the dose
And touch us last.

© Michael Rosen

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