September 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm (Poems)


Welcome all, Welcome all

Welcome sorrow, Welcome joy

Welcome shadows, Welcome light

Welcome all opposites,

Pale and bright

Welcome the weeping clouds

Welcome Fever and fret, the fair and the foul

The wakeful anguish of the soul.

The last sad gray hairs

In the temple of delight

Veiled melancholy has her Sovran shrine

Keats *

*Mash-up of Ode To a Nightingale, Ode To Melancholy and Welcome joy, and Welcome Sorrow


We live together: let us live for each other’s comfort. We are all working together: grasp the

idea of this as a larger work than our own little pet hobbies, which are narrow, our own little

personal wishes, feelings, piques, or tempers. This is not individual work. To love that is to

help one another, to strive together to act together, to work for the same end………

Florence Nightingale


My name is Anna

And I have a daughter

Her name is Emma

And she is so beautiful

But she cannot talk to me

My name is Anna

And I have a husband

His name is Jeffrey

He is so depressed

I wish he would talk to me

My name is Anna

And I am a carer

My work is demanding

Unpaid and underrated

Why does this happen to me?

Life is so very hard

When you are a carer

No time for myself

For friends or for hobbies

I just feel like a machine

Life is so lonely

When you are a carer

No one understands

My problems and sorrow

I just have to cope on my own

Life is better when I meet other carers

Problems are smaller when you share

Anna Chan


My mind is absorbed with the suffering of man, it besets me before and behind, a

very one-sided view but I can hardly see anything else and all that the poets sing of

the glories of this world seems to me untrue. All the people I see are eaten up with

care of poverty or disease.

Florence Nightingale

Et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non conprehenderunt.

(And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.)

St. John 1:5


Us poor wretches wishing we could be

Wishing we could be on good terms with ourselves,

Us poor wretches wishing we could have

Wishing we could have ourselves a better life.

The stuffed and the hollow men all, come in.

I just bum another fag

And hang around the throng

Going hopelessly wrong

Us poor wretches wishing we could be

Wishing we could be on good terms with ourselves,

The stuffed and the hollow men all, come congregating as another Eleanor Rigby is

quietly done away with……..HELP!

Kim Terry Ling


I want to tell you about Adam

He was very troubled, he was just 19

I want to tell you about time

We stood outside his door

We got a call from his doctor

He was living in a pokey room – in ‘Halls’

We knocked – he wouldn’t answer

Wouldn’t say anything – wouldn’t let us in.

Day after day, so we waited and we waited

We tried to reassure him, returning day after day –

Trying different approaches

And then Adam opened the door

Chaos – but he was just 19, just a boy.

Sitting on the bed

Wouldn’t look at us, wouldn’t talk

Then I see CD’s lots and lots of CD’s.

I gave him some of my music

I gave him a sad song

And he smiled

Adam smiled

And I smiled because Adam smiled

Mary O Toole


Another young patient is wildly manic.

She chants, sings, leaps, runs for her life along the narrow corridors,

Bangs on the glass – bangs on doors,

Stops momentarily to trace the walls with her fingers,

Then lunges across the lounge,

Jumping off and on seats,

Talking and talking with no spaces between the words,

Grabbing at others, slapping them.

She crumples up, crying and holding onto whoever is there.

Sometimes it hurts her because she struggles.

I want her to stay still – stay still

She defecate, she urinates in the corner of her room.

I would like to be able to look after her in the woods so she can run about without

hurting herself or anyone else

And can squat in the bushes if she wished.

My head spins. I replay conversations

I wish I could shed it instantly and just be with my baby and rock him to sleep.

My prayer is that I never leave my humanity at the door when I go onto the ward.

Claire Lapworth


Two people in a room

Just two people talking

One tells a story

One listens

A story about problems and mistakes, of hope,

of family, of being let down.

On the surface it’s just their story

But underneath it’s your story too

And all the diagrams with arrows (both curvy and straight)

The models, the boxes with words in, the PowerPoint slides,

The mouse-clicks and keystrokes and all approximations

The handover box of sections and codes, the forms

And it’s still just two people in a room

Two people talking – And it’s your story too.

And Emily says:

Much madness is divinest sense –

Much sense – the starkest madness

And you go into the room, you get the handover for the room and the diagnosis, the

assessment, the section 136, the breached CTO, gender, ethnicity, the legal status, the

section 17, the “well known to services”, the risk screen all melt away, all fade, all

recede. And it’s your story too

Tom Alexander

Much madness is divinest sense

Much Sense – the starkest Madness –

‘Tis the Majority

In this, as All, prevail

Assent – and you are sane

Demur – you’re dangerous Emily Dickinson


Bless all the nurses, all those everywhere.

Bless all the midwives, all who offer care.

Bless all mothers of sick children – all.

Bless all sons of dying fathers – all.

Bless all those sick of bone,

Blood, skin and things unknown,

Of mind, of soul. Bless all.

Bless Florence Nightingale, bless all.

Bless all her “Fellow searchers”, all.


Out of suffering may come the cure.

Give us back our suffering,

We cry to Heaven in our hearts –

Suffering rather than indifference.

Florence Nightingale


My name is Kathleen

And I’m from Dublin.

I have a brother

He’s eleven years younger.

The world became darker as my addiction took over.

I saw no escape but the final curtain.

For years I struggled.

At times the sun shone.

Support and focus go hand in hand,

The hurdles they are many.

But with time and perseverance

And most of all with faith I found

I was able to belong again to a world I had rejected.

Kathy Kennedy


Tabby is more than life to me

She is gold and bold, and happy to see

I watch her daily, she gets fed too.

She plays in the bushes and runs in the grass

I’ll never giver her up, as long as she loves me.

Tabby has me in a regular routine.

I feed her three times

Three times a day.

I pick her up and cuddle her; I cuddle her for hours

Touching her gives me such a lovely sensation.

She is soft and fluffy.

With this I get very emotional and sometimes

come close to tears.

Nicky Godfrey


I believe that we have relations to, to each other, each other, that are deeper, wider

and more enduring than the ties we see, we see.

I believe that in another world we shall recognize those who have made us suffer

here as our teachers and thank them

They remain that our narrow personal love may grow into charity divine.

They remain that our old love may build itself a lasting monument in every good

word and work to our life’s end,

Florence Nightingale


Flowers are beautiful, they grow outside

They innocently sway

Touch. Smell. Colour

They’re kissed by the sun

Dancing in the warmth of love

But at night the flowers fade to black and White

Fade to black

And there, kissed by the moon

You meet your shadow, your own shadow.

(Own shadow, own shadow, own shadow)

Shadows are beautiful, they grow in light

They innocently sway, they follow and they sway

No touch, smell, colour

They’re kissed by the sun

Dancing in the warmth of love

(Own shadow, own shadow, own shadow)

Mind and Soul Choir


“Little children, love one another”.

Remember we are not so many small selves, but members of a community.

Florence Nightingale


My name is Maria

And I come from Erith

I live with my mum

And our dog called mason

I had a breakdown (due to a marriage breakdown)

I went into Woodlands where I met Kathy.

The lovely Kathy.

We have remained friends and have been on a

Journey together to being well and happy

The dark days became fewer

And the light days came along.

With the help of friends and family

I knew that I could carry on.

I can tell when I am getting ill

And do something about it

Before it gets too bad.

Maria Marcanik


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Post Your Poems on Compassion Here

December 1, 2010 at 11:25 am (Poems)

You can either email them directly to Jessica Howell or John Browne – or click “Leave Comment” at the bottom of the page. Click Here for three poems on the theme of ‘Compassion’ to inspire you and/or see the guidelines below that were used in the Salon workshop

Exercise 1: Lists (example, “Art of Losing”) List everything you can think of that falls into a certain category (such as ‘things I have lost’). You may find the beginnings of a poem, or a wonderful line, in your list. Make a list of fears, losses, happy memories, accomplishments, dreams—whatever you can think of. Take some of the ideas from these lists, and see if you can expand upon them.

Exercise 2: Sensory Observations (example, “Sleeping in the Forest”) Stop and pay attention to the smaller things around you. Make observations like “I see… I hear… I feel… I smell… I taste…” You can do this exercise anywhere at anytime. Try it on the bus, at work, in a classroom, on a park bench. You may be surprised at the observations you make, and the opportunities for poetry that you find.

Exercise 3: Describing an Object or Picture. Either choose a physical object, or find an interesting picture, and fully describe everything you experience. Use all of the senses, as well as describing any action taking place. Include as much detail as you can. Afterwards, go through what you have written to see what stands out. Some detail, description, or word might be the beginning of a poem.

Exercise 4: Color (“Nature Rarer Uses Yellow”) Choose a color and write a short poem in which the name of the color is often repeated. Try listing the images associated with that color, as well as the broader, symbolic associations of the color chosen. Also consider the personal associations that color has for you. Incorporate the color in the title if you can.

Adapted from “Five Poetry Writing Exercises” By Stacie Naczelnik and “Kalliope Poetry Exercise Workshop”


Feeling hands my fears cradle in
Nourishing eyes reflecting all our pain
Tears soothe a parched throat
Cupped hands a drowning soul succour

Frank Walsh

Stare upon my wrinkled face,
Feel the cool of my knarled hand.
I am but a crumpled figure
To the point that I no longer stand.
I take my one last breath,
Breathe a last and lonesome sigh.
I am brought back from the brink,
I need saving one last time.
But I am past the point of no return,
My hourglass has run its course.
I’m faded and am gone,
To start again and live with worms!

Helena Sluman

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