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Ask, Listen, ….Don’t!

Last modified: October 1, 2019
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Estimated reading time: 1 min

A poem by Julie Newcombe

You can see the video of this poem here

Ask, listen, don’t be the physician

Who thought he knew better than mum ever could.

For he left her with tears that won’t dry through the years

And he sent her boy home in a coffin of wood.


Ask, listen, don’t be the commissioner

Who moved a girl miles from her family home.

Was it better than giving community living

So she silently weeps in her bed all alone?


Ask, listen, don’t be the closed council

Who held secret meetings we couldn’t attend.

When your Friday night emails lack accurate details,

There are bridges of trust that will just never mend.


Ask, listen, don’t be the headteacher

Who sent a child home when he didn’t fit in.

For the lesson to teach is we’re all within reach

And to celebrate difference and talent within.


Ask, listen, don’t be the professional

Who spoke all the jargon but didn’t relate.

When your sympathy’s small, you’re worth nothing at all.

In the end what you offer’s too little, too late.


Ask, listen, don’t be the provider

Who took all the cash but had nothing to give.

Relentless abusers of your ‘service users’,

All those people forgotten, their lives never lived.


Ask, listen, don’t hide from the problem

For that’s when the problem is probably you.

Forget isolation and start conversations 

As you take up the banner of ‘Ask Listen Do’.

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