Smoking and Swearing by Ian Manson

He’s stood outside, he’s on his break.
He’s unsure whether to be smoking or swearing.
He decides on both.

Inhale. Fuuuck!
Inhale. Fuuuck!

A person, a visitor, or a patient.
Heading to the hospital,
sees his scrubs and scowls.

It’s not very professional for a nurse to be smoking and swearing.

But he doesn’t care.
He’s already done his good deed for the morning
and by midnight he’ll have done a dozen more.

Yesterday was a paltry four.
Tomorrow’s shift will be five or two
or maybe eight,
and another night of finishing late.


He breathes a cloud of smoke.
Watches it swirling, ascending,
a spirit en-route to heaven.

The person’s saintly sanctimony means nothing
to him.
Because he’s on his break.
And he’s smoking, and he’s swearing.


Originally from Scotland, Ian has lived and worked in Worcestershire for the last 11 years. He can normally be found performing his poetry and prose at events on the Worcester spoken word scene


  1. I love this poem. Well done Ian x

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  6. Well done Ian, a brilliant poem - especially relevant at present! X

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