Carol Batton – Official Poet of the Socialist Health Association

Carol Batton

Dozen Roses?

I don’t need a dozen roses.

These times when every doorway closes

-keep the things that you proposes,

keep your cosy, blood-red roses,

keep success at bloody, showbiz

I don’t want what you supposes.

I just want a dozen buds.

I just want a single could.

Psychiatrist 2

He’s a strange


even though

I have met

him before


Feeling better than others;

while being worse.

Psychiatric Pills

It’s only got one side effect,
You really must give it a try.
It’s only got one side effect,
It makes you want to die.
Money is the best insulating material

Nervously at the Dentist

” I live several miles away

Would a local anaesthetic,

be OK for me?”

Subterranean Living Under the DSS

Hell is Fine
Lit by tiny candles
Water from the DSS above drips randomly down – I cannot be sure of my candles staying lit.
The ceiling is made of impenetrable denial, weakened in places by implausibility.
There is no wind, or rain, to worry about.
But there is no sun either.
I plan next year’s pacing: this year I plan the pacing, which I am definitely (Next time) going to do. I must do something with my death.
I hear the ‘Too-Late’ prayers of the doomed dead, (Repentance past the sell-by date). We are crushed at random, by the ” Lack-of-benefits-system” dripped on, one by one until it is our own turn to get soaked in the cold.
It”s cold as hell, in hell let no one say it is hot. They”ve cut back the heating on which the myth is based.
Actually they tell you it”s perfectly warm. They”re right, but not if one has not eaten all day.
The boredom – one gets used to it. But not the loneliness. The loneliness just gets more desperate, with the inescapable dripping, squeezing the camaraderie – friendliness needs sufficiency.
I waste my time like some criminal in jail – guilty of unemployment.
A “Parasite” they say.
There is no clock – I find clocks painful – still I wish I hadn’t destroyed it.
The tunnels leading off are open to me, but it is understood they are forbidden to us.
So I crouch by the nearest candle – it has been like this for many years.
The little candle. That drip is very near that little light; a flicker of excitement – at the threat – but no, I’ve moved the candle to yet another safer place ; where ‘Splot’, a big blob of water – puts it out.
“You”ll have to refer to the DSS for a grant to relight it”: I forgot my hunger. The DSS is an impregnable well-lit office, on floor three. There are still some other candles and while five candles should not be despair –
I cried.
I was hungry, I was cold, I was wet (but of course), and not making use of my death very well.
They relit the candle after two months disagreement -but he was not happy.
They blew it out again.
Hell is fine, said the memo from above the DSS, on floor six.


One must go cold turkey
When going veggie
Or maybe, cold lentil
Is gentler


If I were on stage again,
You’d clap.
It is only when I’m
In need
Of help,
You say,
“attention seeking”,
and walk off.

Mad System

His section is so confidential

“You’re not next of kin,”


“We can’t tell you over the phone.”

His section is so confidential,

they won’t give the reason,

even to him.

Jan 2000

The Plant

It’s gone a most beautiful shade of browny-red.
And it’s dead.

Short Description of Manic Depression

  1. Save the World
  2. “I can’t do it”
  3. “Let’s kill myself”


You deny us work,
And give us money,
It’s almost


There is absolutely
Nothing the
Psychiatrist can do!
So take off your
Slippers, forgive
Yourself, and cry!

Another “The Pills” Poem

I say it makes me miserable,
She says, “That cannot be”
I say that I am certain,
(but so is she)
She says “So say the drug firms,
And they have done research”
I say “They make the profit.”
She says I am psychotic,
She says that I can’t know these things
And cannot be believed,
She says I’m being awkward, and should take more of these.

Too sad to kill myself

On major tranquillisers I don’t
Kill myself I don’t do
Anything at all.


How can I hope for world peace,
When I can’t get you to say, “Hello”
In the streets.

You can find more of Carol’s poems here and see her here.

Carol Batton has asserted her rights as author of these poems but she is happy for you to use them freely so long as you acknowledge her authorship.