Gwenllian on a Payfreeze – A Sonnet by Sam Egelstaff 

Gwenllian on a Payfreeze

Written to celebrate the NHS.
A love sonnet cut short, to emulate the hardship inflicted upon our nation’s nurses.

Ah, you should see Gwenllian on the wards.
Gone is the bursary that business borrowed
and lost, like ripped-out feeding tubes,
seeping upon the corridors
of contracts, tender or raw.
The uniform, a soulripped status,
until there is nothing but a foodbank
to clog the beds up.

Dress up those cuts, those vacant wounds
where bankrolled paper pours, not drips,
like the hanging bloodbags above
our nation’s comatosed heads.

Sam Egelstaff lives in North Wales, UK. She has performed at the R.S Thomas Literary Festival. Her work appears in many publications and anthologies including Counterpoints: In response to poems by R.S Thomas (2015). Her MA Creative Writing led to her collections, ‘On the Couch’ (2015) and ’Carneddau Colours’ (2017). Currently, she is completing her collection ‘Stormsong,’ influenced by her experience as the Chair and Founder of Llanrwst Flood Action Group. In Stormsong,  she conveys the voices and experiences of those communities affected by flooding due to environmental damage and climate change. Sam has also been a political candidate in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Election 2021 and has developed a poetry collection that tackles socio-economic oppression and inequality; poetic themes influenced by her public speaking and campaigning for women and girls’ rights in Wales and the UK. She tweets as @SamEgelstaff and her blog is

Banner Art: Out on the Red Limb of Night , a visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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