Donate Venue Hire
The Stationers' Company
The City of London Livery Company for the Communications and Content Industries


23 APRIL 2020

Stationers’ Poetry Book Society  Weekly Poem - Number  1

Recalling the previous collaboration between Stationers and the Poetry Book Society who partnered together in No-one is an Island (the poetry and music night last year at St Martin within Ludgate) Liveryman Ian Grant and the Poetry Book Society are going to contribute a poem each week of the lockdown to soothe, cheer and give food for thought.  Here is their first suggestion.  It appears on Thursday 23 April when at 8.00 pm there will be another "clapping" for the NHS and other keyworkers.

This poem also appears in the Members Only area of the site and Stationers should look out for news of a special offer from the Poetry Book Society later in the series.


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.


As the nation prepares once more to clap for the NHS and key workers this simple but deeply moving poem by Michael Rosen really strikes a chord. It was written to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS and now features in These Are the Hands, an inspiring anthology of poems to celebrate the dedication of NHS staff, edited by The Emergency Poet Deborah Alma and GP Dr Katie Amiel. Featuring poetry by NHS workers alongside donated contributions by leading UK poets including Michael Rosen, Roger McGough and Wendy Cope, this is an uplifting reminder of our shared humanity and everyday heroism. As Michael Rosen claims in the foreword, “The [NHS is at the] very heart of who we are and what we are here for” - a message which is needed now more than ever. These Are the Hands is available to order here and all proceeds go towards supporting the NHS Charities Together fund.

Michael Rosen is one of the best-known figures in the children’s book world, renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. As an author and anthology editor he has been involved with over 140 books. Michael is a familiar voice to BBC listeners as the presenter of Word of Mouth on Radio 4. He was one of the first poets to make visits to schools throughout the UK and has since visited schools worldwide with his one-man show to enthuse children with his passion for books and poetry. His lesser known poetry for adults includes Don’t Mention the Children published by Smokestack Books.

The Poetry Book Society (PBS) is a unique poetry book club founded by TS Eliot to “propagate the art of poetry”. Find out more here.