Imagined Worlds: Poets Visit
As part of an exhibition shown in the Central Gallery featuring winning poems from the Friends of the Coleridge Society. Two visits consisted of 4 poets working across Combe, Midford and Waterhouse wards. One poet joined the Stitch in Time workshops and the felt work activity reflected conversations around poetry, Coleridge and other well-known poets.
The poets found it a very valuable experience; they hadn’t worked in a hospital setting before and kept an open mind from the outset as some patients were open to the idea of poetry and some were not; in these cases the poets chatted about the patient’s interests and sometimes the conversation came back to poetry or the lives of poets. Two visiting poets wrote poems in response to their visits.
Pastel Saints – By Christopher Jelley
Beyond atrium, ramps and fob-locked doors
Past checker plate rub spots and art peppered corridors
Past vistas of ferns and sky fall mirrors
Quadrants behind glass the exterior interiors
Past hand pumps and caution signs
Steel pinned limbs and Nursing Times
And into the machine of the gentle flesh
Pastel uniforms of the patiently blessed
Into the hustle and hush with the elegant at ease
A place of graft – nurture – repair
Alabaster skins and orthopaedic chairs
Silver locks from fairy dells
Bedside valves and charts and hand wash gels
Crows feet and laughter lines
Consumed by sleep and the parlour of time
Through shimmering moments of repose
Pale blanket laid across knees and toes
One patient talking, talking, talking
The muscle of the words repairing reforming
A stroke of genius swept aside
The foam of thought raw and tired
Histories upon histories wrap and fold
Knitting refracting retying connections
(Discussion paused for X-Ray inspections)
Further wards echo the same
Pastel saints glide elegantly restrained
Guiding these passengers to calmer waters
With the bed-side guardians of grandsons and daughters
These fragile vessels with ruptured hoards
Besieged by time and natures discords
Frailty and fortune through stormy weathers
Come repair come expire these mortal tethers
This eddy of ages so accumulates
Yet they change the odds here to this inevitable escape
“Two patients wanted to
respond to Wadsworths ‘Daffodils’ which they had heard in the morning. We created two beautiful felt images of daffodils on a rich green background. To date all the felt panels have been abstract. I believe we can develop images now and create pictures if the patient has a particular interest or inspiration.
Ian absolutely sums up the process. I really hope that we may have the opportunity to work with the poets again.”
Edwina Bridgeman, Artist
“It was an honour to sit and listen to David, Ivy and Les and I hope I have managed to capture something of their thoughts and memories without distorting their perspectives too much. The process has reminded me that poems should speak directly and practically for as many people as possible.”
Ian Enters, Poet
For Ivy – BY Ian Enters
I wince when I think of school,
Blanked out most memories.
It was no use at all.
Poetry? You having me on.
I recall a teacher holding a clock.
We chanted the time
As she moved the hands
Midday to Midnight
Quarter by quarter
While minutes inched by
Like the dripping of water
From the girls’ toilet tap
Out in the yard fenced from the fields.
My brother, he bunked off most days,
Nipped to the farm at first cock,
Blew dandelion seeds for his clock.
And despite poverty, he stayed out of the loop.
Nobody trained him to stay in his coop.
But a sudden wind blew his burning rubbish
Against his leg when he was in his yard.
He grinned and bore it. He was a card.
Ah, but money is nothing and won’t buy you ease.
It’s hard to be ill after independent years.
My daughters came yesterday.
I go home today.
Time passes quickly now
While my grandchildren play.