Diary of the Plague Year: Day 83 6 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry – The Creative Writing Group at The Felix Post Unit – SURVIVORS’ POETRY

THE FELIX POST UNIT WAS A DAY CENTRE FOR OLDER ADULTS AT THE MAUDSLEY HOSPITAL. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN IN 2008 FOR NO APPARENT OR GOOD REASON. MANY OF ITS SERVICE USERS WERE FROM THE BAME COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH LONDON.

Their anthology POSTSCRIPT – POEMS BY THE CREATIVE WRITING GROUP was published by Roy Birch of Survivors’ Poetry.

sdhfhttps://disabilityarts.online/directory/survivors-poetry/

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 82 5 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry – The Creative Writing Group at The Felix Post Unit – History

THE FELIX POST UNIT WAS A DAY CENTRE FOR OLDER ADULTS AT THE MAUDSLEY HOSPITAL. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN IN 2008 FOR NO APPARENT OR GOOD REASON. MANY OF ITS SERVICE USERS WERE FROM THE BAME COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH LONDON.

HISTORY
from POSTSCRIPT – Poems by The Creative Writing Group at The Felix Post Unit

The Poetry Group a the Felix Post Unit began as a means of trying to address a more holistic approach to mental health. We, as nurses, instinctively knew the value of creativity, and the value of writing creatively, but were uncertain how to put this into practice.

The group evolved from reading poems to writing poems. Our members had very strong idea of what a poet was, and felt that whatever it was, it wasn’t them. However, this changed as confidence within the group and members began to see their poetry written and read out.

One thing that we were totally unprepared for was the effect of writing and reading their poems. Members of the group did have problems with speech and language and memory. Our members didn’t have a voice, or seem to have the language to convey meaning to their everyday interactions. Poetry, with its emphasis on conveying emotion in an encapsulated format, and use of imagery to convey emotion, appeared to unlock some of the mind’s processes. Something about the act of writing poetry gave our members an eloquent and powerful means of expressing themselves, and also a sense of release and peace. We felt, and continue to feel, both joy and humbleness at the poems written by our elders, and the process continues to bone of ever greater acheivements.

We hope you will enjoy this anthology, written by the elders at the Felix Post Unit.

MONIQUE MARONEY
CLARE JONES
PETER BENNETT

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 82 5 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry – Poems by the The Creative Writing Group a The Felix Post Unit

THE FELIX POST UNIT WAS A DAY CENTRE FOR OLDER ADULTS AT THE MAUDSLEY HOSPITAL. IT WAS CLOSED DOWN IN 2008 FOR NO APPARENT GOOD REASON. MANY OF ITS SERVICE USERS WERE FROM THE BAME COMMUNITIES OF SOUTH LONDON.

THE FELIX POST BOX
 
I will put in my box
A confirmation certificate
And words of praise for my bishop
My husband’s compassion
And the heart beat of the sea.
 
I will put in my box
Chinese firecrackers that
Spit and spark at the devil.
Silhouettes of palm trees
And lighting during the monsoon.
 
I will put in my box
A teenage tomboy
Forever-happy climbing mango trees,
A far away memory of a mother’s laugh
And a fisherman’s hook.
 
I will put in my box
Only good stuff
A glowing friendship and
A sweet cup of tea.
 
I will put in my box
My youth and
All the fun of the fair
With donkeys and candlyflosss.
 
I will put in my box
The smell of my first baby
A lot of understanding
And a day in the New Forest in a church
Waiting to hear Dancing Queen playing the organ.
 
I will put in my box
A guinea pig from long ago
So sensitive and soft,
squeezing into a ball like a cat
An orange tree I climbed,
Scared of nothing and such rewards!
 
I will put it in my box
The circus at Blackpool and dancing girls in swimsuits,
The smell of a mango
And juice of a young coconut.
 
My box is made of
Garden scents and music
With ribbons and buttons and all sorts
On the lid.
You can unlock it by wishing quietly.
 
I shall keep my box
High on a roll of thunder
And watch the dice
As they tumble down
An evening on the beach.
 
ALICE HAYCOCK
CLARICE PORTER
SHIRLEY RICHARDS
LUCILLE POWELL
LIX JELINEK
HUBERT CLARKE
IRENE PRATT

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 80 3 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: FROM The Book of Songs China (c. 600 BC)

CYPRESS BOAT

Tossed is that cypress boat,
Wave-tossed it floats.
My heart is in turmoil. I cannot sleep.
But secret is my grief.
Wine I have, all things needful
For play, for sport.

My heart is not a mirror,
To reflect what others will.
Brothers too I have;
I cannot be snatched away.
But lo, when I told them of my plight
I found that they were angry with me.

My heart is not a stone;
It cannot be rolled.
My heart is not a mat;
It cannot be folded away.
I have borne myself correctly
In rites more than can be numbered.

My sad heart is consumed. I am harassed
By a host of small men.
I have borne vexations very many,
Received insults not a few.
In the still of night I brood upon it;
In the waking hours I rend my breast.

O sun, ah, moon
Why are you changed and dim?
Sorrow clings to me
Like an unwashed dress.
In the still of night I brood upon it,
Long to take wing and fly away.

FROM:  

The Airs of Bei 26-44
THE BOOK OF SONGS

The Ancient Chinese Classic of Poetry
Translated by Arthur Waley

Grove Press

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 80 3 June 2020: A North wind

After a week of heatwave, a riotous North wind has arrived. It is rampaging through the garden and luckily I staked the new Delphinium I bought yesterday. The wind turns the leaves on the trees and they shine with a silvery light in the sun. The last time we had a North wind like this was last March when all the leaves on my new trees were burnt. This wind feels relatively warm in comparison so I hope the trees won’t be damaged.

Read a bit of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” – we had been asked to find some dialogue that had had a profound effect on us and, having not read it for 3o years, have been lured into reading it again.

The first para:

“Our is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over he obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 79 2 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: George Mackay Brown (1921 – 1966)

DREAM OF WINTER
 
These were the sounds that dinned upon his ear –
The spider’s fatal purring, and the grey
Trumpeting of old mammoths locked in ice.
No human sound there was: only the evil
Shriek of the violin sang of human woe
And conquest and defeat, and the round drums
  Sobbed as they beat.
 
He saw the victim nailed against the night
With ritual stars. The skull, a ruin of dreams,
Leaned in the wind, merry with curl and thorn.
The long robes circled. A penitential wail
For the blue lobster and the yellow cornstalk
And the hooded victim, broken to let men live,
  Flashed from their throats.
 
Then all the faces turned from the Winter Man.
From the loch’s April lip a swan slid out
In a cold rhyme. The year stretched like a child
And rubbed its eyes on light. Spring on the hill
With lamb and tractor, lovers and burning heather.
Byres stood open. The wind’s blue fingers laid
  A migrant on the rock.
 
FROM:

The Faber Book of 20th Century Verse

Edited by John Heath-Stubbs & David Wright