Long shining corridor agleam in green and white,
What do you know of suffering who see it every day?
With rounded corners dustless, full of air and light,
What do you know of misery, of treasure snatched away?
With lofty ceiling, windows wide, meticulously bright,
What can you know of life or death, or love’s decay?
Germ free and clean, yes; cold and heartless too;
Bright, aye, and sterile, and with lustre hard
Remorselessly reflecting, exposing to full view
Dirt and human weakness that efficiency retard.
No place here for weeping or trembling lip;
No place here for pity, tenderness or love;
Science is unbending nor even bows to sleep;
Disease a foe to vanquish with instrument and glove.
Sobs re-echo vainly from these frigid walls;
Anguish leaves no trace, no gentle smile is here:
But from the cold austerity a choking blanket falls,
Stifling human emotion, freezing hard the tear,
Trampling on the beating heart, and reasoning appals,
The blanket dark and hideous of paralysing fear.