Lauren Cooper – The Tiger Who Came For Me

“A poem about depression and the NHS in the UK. The ‘plot’ is also based on the children’s story ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’”

The Tiger Who Came For Me

No Doctor, I will not show you my stripes;
If you can afford to make cuts so can I.
Nothing is left; everything is taken,
I turn to food, it’s natural; the food chain.
Food – comfort – survival.
I turn to drink, to blur the ink on my patient’s notes
But you’ve taken it all
Even the water from the taps;
Leaving me no release.
Little Sophie can’t even have her baptism
And you refuse me the right to wash myself clean
Make myself better and get out of this hell.
Instead you claw away my fur and skin
So you can make a carpet from my sin
And at night, when my fur is keeping you warm
And my punishments for living are feeding your kids,
Don’t dream of me and the many thousands more,
Don’t turn back or blink an eye as you leave my ward.

How are we meant to survive with such limited supplies?
suggests we go out to eat
We make reservations at every institution you suggest,
But we’re passed from one to the other to the next
Each department ignoring our symptoms, our struggles,
Our needs, our pains.
Our hunger’s scream drowns in the crowd of other hungry screams
Our hollow eye sockets are normalised by this mortuary.
I am constantly taxed more and more
Yet I’m further away from winning this war.
I restock the cupboards
Let you try something new
But Tiger, you’ll never be satisfied,
Until I die.



  1. really quite something, what a clever, moving and meaningful poem

  2. Thank you :’) that means a lot

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