Today is national poetry day so we are celebrating with this fantastic poem about support for people with learning disabilities by Dignity Champion Sharon Scarlett


You never asked me

I lived in a 'bin' for most of my days

Away from the world, out of public gaze

You fed me, you bathed me and put me to bed

And while you were doing it nothing was said

You never asked me if I wanted to play 

If I wanted to sing, if I wanted to pray

You never asked me to come into town 

If I was happy or feeling down

Treated the same as a table or chair 

An object, as if I weren't there.

And lo and behold everything changed 

No one asked me - was already arranged

Come to our world you do have the right 

Live beside us - but keep out of sight

You have to be normal 

And do what we do

You mustn't look different 

You mustn't be you

You never asked me where I wanted to live 

In a house, in a flat or even who with

The old days are gone and life will be good 

You will be treated the way that you should

So I got a new bedroom and painted it blue 

It's not like the bin, it's bright and it's new

And the staff came along as they knew me so well 

Different walls, different views. Same staff, same hell

You never asked me 'what would you like to eat?' 

You never asked me 'would you like your tea sweet?'

You never asked me 'would you like to go out?' 

You only got cross when I started to shout

And you gave me a label that said I was bad

And you gave me some pills that made me feel mad

And you locked up the kitchen so I couldn't choose

And you bought nice things that I couldn't use

And you sat in my chair, used my TV remote

And my life only existed in the notes that you wrote

Cornflakes for breakfast, two sugars in tea

A shower in the morning, a baths not for me

Knock on the door when you come to my room

Don't just open it, don't just assume

Open the wardrobe and show me my clothes

Ugh! baggy old trousers, I won't wear those

I'd like to make lunch, a soup or a stew 

Then sit down and eat it, join me too?

I'm not very good but I'm sure we can try 

Please can you teach me and explain to me why

And when I come home at the end of the day 

I need someone to talk to, listen to what I say

I might go to bed or sit up for a while 

Please keep me company, please make me smile.

I want all the things that you have in your life 

A home, a job, maybe a wife

I want to have friends and have fun and a laugh

I can't do this without paid staff

But that doesn't mean I value you less 

I need your support, please care and invest

We're not different, we're the same you see 

I've always known, but you never asked me


This poem was written by Sharon Scarlett who used to work in an old institutional hospital. 

You can find out more here!

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