Please take the spare bedroom away, we do not want it back
grandkids can sleep on the sofa as we can’t afford the bedroom tax
so take away the roof of it, the ceiling, walls and floor
but leave us every other thing outside that bedroom door.
Don’t take away the garden where the apple tree bears fruit
it was planted on our wedding day, our love wends with its roots
don’t take away the place where my Dad’s ashes have been scattered
his memory is sacred in our world of family matters,
don’t take away the story of those childhoods turned out great
don’t take away our neighbours, we’ve learned to give and take
and make community from sharing joy, and time, and grief
we have long resolved our differences: accept, respect beliefs.
Don’t take away old Mrs Jones’s stair-lift in her hall
two bedrooms over quota but as least she will not fall
when she is cold, and can’t afford to pay the gas, the water,
her son lives ninety miles away, Iraq took her bright daughter.
Don’t take away this neighbourhood, don’t scatter us like dust
don’t grind us down with poverty, take bedrooms if you must
and take them brick by brick, and break our homes and walls apart
but don’t break up community, don’t place a price on heart.
Don’t make us find new doctors after lifetimes in their hands
don’t pull the rug from under us, don’t shake us where we stand
and move us on to who-knows-where for rents at huge amounts
our homes here, make a profit now, for Council’s bank accounts
perhaps to save some money, cut the rate that rents keep rising
it’s the wallets of the landlords that need cutting and downsizing -
and to save on paying benefits – well, doesn’t that make sense?
Why should private owners get rich at the tax-payers expense?
What purpose, and what logic, what trouble will this madness save?
Hear that sound? It is our ancestors all turning in their graves.
So come and take our empty rooms - their echoes from our backs.
But don’t keep us awake at nights: we can’t afford a bedroom tax.