A Disabled Day Out in London – A Poem

(I was talking to a friend about my day out in London from a few weeks ago using it as an example for something else that I was a bit inspired by to write. She suggested that the day itself and what I was saying would make a good poem. I might still write the something else.)

A Disabled Day Out In London

Yes we do assisted travel here at station A

(You’ll book but that won’t matter)

You’ll request a push up to the train

but we’ll walk off and ignore you

 

Yes we do assisted travel here at station B

(You’ll book but that won’t matter)

The people at station A won’t have reminded us

So we’ll not bother to check

and leave you stranded

 

Yes we’ve got a ramp into the building

(you’ll check and be reassured but that won’t matter)

Because the ramp is too steep and not safe

A passer by grabbing you is all that prevents

a nasty fall

 

Yes we’ve got lifts. Two and you’ll need to use them both

(a reassuring claim

but that won’t matter)

Because one of them doesn’t quite stop level

with the floor

and you needn’t think your wheelchair will fit

without some creative struggling

and the risk of a fall

 

Yes, we’ve got a ramp for the internal steps that come next

(their claims of “yes” begin to reassure

but that won’t matter)

But it’s a moveable one

And you’ll get half way up it

And notice it’s slipping as you move

Meaning you must

give up

or risk falling.

 

And finally, yes we’ve got a disabled loo.

(the final piece I needed

the final claim that makes it possible.

but that won’t matter)

but you can’t have a wheelchair

right by the loo

and properly shut the door

let alone lock it

and so I must choose my own adventure

my own risk

chance getting walked in on

as I did to another?

or yet again risk a fall?

 

I try to complain

(but that doesn’t matter)

The response is just

“we’ve got ramps.

we’ve got lifts

we’ve got a disabled loo.

didn’t they show you them?”

 

When it came to

wheelchair access

that place

had it all

But that didn’t matter

Because it would only

work for

the wheelchair user

who doesn’t use a wheelchair

 

Then you return

to Station B

wary

but overwhelmed

and desperate

for home

 

different staff now

and suddenly

access matters

and access works

 

The train will pull in

to Station A

the last stop

before a taxi home

access fail

means nerves

are high

 

A different staff member

waits to help you off the train

Actually helps

Restores my faith

in humanity

because suddenly

access matters

and access works.

2 thoughts on “A Disabled Day Out in London – A Poem”

  1. You would think there would be some sort of testing for all these access systems…without the ‘customer’ being the guinea pig
    I like the format nice’n’punchy

    1. How could they have a format for testing without the customer being the guinea pig? Not possible… someone has to be the guinea pig.

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