Not going out: a poem about street clutter

A West Midlands resident has shared a poem he has written about the issue of street clutter, inspired by national TV coverage of our West Yorkshire sim spec walk in Hebden Bridge.

‘Not going out’, written by John Morris, highlights issues related to street clutter and other obstacles. Street clutter includes but is not limited to A-Boards, overhanging vegetation, poorly placed street furniture and bollards.

Did you know that one in five people will become blind or partially sighted. Did you know that there are more than two million visually impaired people in the UK?

Street clutter can cause challenges for many blind and partially sighted people and make streets difficult to navigate. It can also lead to accidents and make some people feeling unsafe to go out, including to visit local shops and services.

Here is an audio file of the author reading out the poem. This is accompanied by a black and white photograph of the author. He is smiling.

Not Going Out

My eyes are dim, I cannot see,
To dodge the lamp post or avoid the tree.
It’s no longer safe to walk the street,
To get home unscathed is quite a feat.

To manoeuvre round the pavement’s clutter
I think I’d be safer in the gutter,
‘Cus with each step new dangers are revealed,
Like trying to tap-dance through a minefield.

On a shopping trip I bump in to friends,
Bump into strangers, the fun never ends.
And those signs to lure a passing shopper,
I find in the gloom and come a cropper.

There are bollards of a certain height,
Won’t say where they catch me, I’m too polite,
High curbs to trip up and then fall down
And then a small surprise, that’s warm and brown!

Suddenly a mother with a pushchair
Will appear and charge me from nowhere,
When her knee-high toddler rushes past her,
My knee, his face, a near disaster.

I’m wary of every passing brolly,
Of old women with a shopping trolley,
Of a paving stone that slightly juts
And an open door, which unseen, shuts.

I have to say without any doubt
It’s a proper pain, that going out.
So much stuff to dodge, it just confuses;
I’ll stay in today and count my bruises.


Sight Loss Councils (SLC) and Thomas Pocklington Trust’s #StreetsForAll campaign aims to make streets accessible for all.

As part of this work, Sight Loss Councils have been featured on national TV for holding simulation spectacle (sim spec) guided walks with policy makers, planners and businesses to highlight the issue.

Our sims specs are special glasses which simulate the various sight conditions many people have. These aim to help people to understand how it feels to walk blind through our cluttered streets to inform future policy and planning. Here’s some examples of our recent walks:


Learn more about #StreetsForAll

Join us

Are you blind or partially sighted, and passionate about creating positive change? We are currently looking for new members to join our Sight Loss Councils (SLCs).

Learn more about SLCs and how to join us

Publication date: 13 December 2022

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