Communication counts

We’re learning about the importance of communication and why it counts so much in a healthcare setting. So this poem came out of my brain as a consolidation of some of that learning. Consider how the person felt during the first three days when nobody spoke to them, compared to how they felt after the nurse had taken the time to treat them as a person. Something to bear in mind.

The First Ward

Day One
I woke up somewhere new.
Nobody tells me where I am or why.
I cannot move or call to passers-by.
I don’t know what to do.
I cry.

Day Two
I woke and I’m still here.
I’m so confused, why am I in this bed?
Some strangers come and talk over my head.
Why can’t they see my fear?
I cry.

Day Three
I woke alone again.
I must be ill; someone was washing me
Whilst talking to someone I couldn’t see.
Do they know I’m in pain?
I cry.

Day Four
I woke and saw a nurse.
She chatted and she brightened up my day.
She said I’ve had a stroke, I’ll be ok.
I think things could be worse.
I smile.

Day Five
That nurse was by my side.
Explained the things the doctors said in code.
That I’ll be fine but it’s a long hard road.
She held me as I cried.
I’ll cope.

Day Six
I woke up somewhere new.
The nurse explained that I’d be transferred there.
She’s written up the details of my care.
I feel much less confused.
I’m me.

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World Poetry Day…

FORGET ME NOT

Roses bloomed on your cheeks that day,

In black and white outside the church,

As petals, shed from your small bouquet,

Danced with the catkins from the silver birch.

Cornflowers shone in your children’s eyes

When they first saw their world; your face

They grew like weeds and then broke their ties,

Set down their own roots and found their place.

Unseen, the buds of a youthful mind

Grew ever fewer year on year

Until now- when your offshoots are trying to find

Some cuttings of fresh hope to take home from here.

Autumn can’t be changed back to Spring,

The blossoms are gone, and cannot be recalled.

Preserve that final flower, say important things;

And talk, just talk, before the petals fall.

THE CURSE OF EMPATHY

When I was a child,

I would read books and I’d cry;

I’d feel the loss and suffering

If people in them died.

My Nan called me soft-hearted –

How I wish that this were true!

Soft implies a heart

Which is strong to fall into.

Cocooned in understanding,

Your troubles laid to rest

A soft heart is absorbent

Yet not heavy in one’s chest.

But I can see too clearly

When you describe to me

The years spent in the past

Enjoying life, or with family.

And I feel all too keenly

The differences between

The Now of limitations

And that which once had been.

You’ve travelled round the world

To end up sitting in a chair;

You used to make your clothes,

But now need help to brush your hair.

Your works of art hang proudly

Yet you can’t now sign your name.

You’d command respect from troops

But now you hide in shame.

You raised a host of children

And now spend your days alone;

You were devoted to your husband

But he’s two decades gone.

You once had been a sportsman

Now your right side doesn’t work.

Your joy was landscaped beauty,

But your sight’s now cloudy murk.

You’ve received a Royal telegram

So you can watch your children die.

And whilst you’re safe and cared-for

You just want time to pass you by.

No – my heart’s not soft,

I fear it’s fragile, fluff-deprived.

Breaking daily as it does

Under the weight of stagnant lives.

Just another poem..,

THE LAST DAYS

And one day I’ll be gone

I won’t recall my name

Because it changed to yours

And I won’t know you

And all the simple tasks

Will be so hard to grasp

And you’ll go home in tears

But I won’t know you

And you will be right there

A woman fully grown

But I’ll look for a child

And I won’t know you

And I will sit and wait

I’ll say I’m going home

When I’m already there

But I don’t know you

And yet I gave you life

You lived next to my heart

I’ve nurtured all your needs

But I won’t know you

And looking at you sleep

I cannot help but cry

I’m sorry for the pain

When I don’t know you

Remembrance poem 2018

MEMORIAM MORIENDI

There was peace in the blue sky above him;
Sweet relief in the cool wind that blew
‘Cross his face and wet-dirt-drenched attire,
On the field where the poppies once grew.

He lay on his back and remembered
How he came to be here in the mud
Far away from his garden in England
Where the trees had just come into bud.

They’d said he’d be back home by Christmas
To sign up or miss all the laughs.
Yet three years of carnage had shown him
That Hate doesn’t do things by halves.

He breathed a deep sigh of surrender
Then he slept – so silent, so still
And the song in his ears from the cannons
Serenaded his soul o’er the hill

We will wear red and pledge to remember
The sacrifice, horror and fears
Of that young lad and every one like him
Every war, for the past hundred years.

Is there peace in the grey skies above us?
Is there hope in the cold wind that blows
Past the ghosts of young men who died, bleeding,
On the field where the poppy still grows?

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Fitness Evolution

In winter it is found
in the rapid
exhalations
misting
the inky morning stillness.
Metal bites into palms which grip with icy determination.
Lights stream into the darkness like a beacon signaling a brighter future.
In summer it is found in what is left behind.
Droplets carelessly discarded on the floor, shaken from hair shorn against the heat.
Effort cascading from bodies and brows, and still
the quickening
of the endless
cycle
of respiration.
Fresh starts, new beginnings, sustained changes.
Breathe, sweat, lift, move.
Repeat, revive, refresh, renew.