Poetry has been at the core of Independent Arts' creative writing workshops from the earliest sessions, and has proved a powerful medium, offering groups of participants the opportunity to form a piece of creative writing together. Following our creative writing project at Orchard House, Newport (funded by Barchester's Charitable Foundation), the home set up "poetry pots" in their communal areas, in an effort to establish poetry at the heart of their environment.
Creating a poem together is not only a highly expressive and creative activity, it can also help improve memory, with participants often recalling poems and verse from childhood. As happens with song, the rhythm and meter of poetry endure.
Please do take a moment to look at the results of our work with care homes on the Isle of Wight, some produced in our group sessions and some by individual residents.
"I have had the most amazing feedback from our residents, family members and staff. The residents said that it was very enjoyable and very interesting. One resident has started writing again after a very long time. We have all taken parts of this experience and are continuing to use it with our residents on a daily basis.
"We have implemented a poem box for all three of our units where residents, staff and visitors can read either together or by themselves. The interest is unbelievable."
Orchard House's activities coordinator on Independent Arts' poetry project.
The Fifty Pound Note
It was lying in Jumbo’s mind
Till it appeared in his pocket coat –
That lovely, crisp, fifty pound note!
But what would we buy?
We asked one another,
Sitting comfy in our armchairs
At Kinlock Tay?
Jim went off for a round of golf
Whilst Kerry nipped out for steak and beer.
Eileen brought fruit – “so good for us”–
Then sneaked in the double cream!
Jean brought beers and Brian apple crumble –
Which made the table a bit of jumble!
Muriel purchased a big pile of books
And Ron, walking softly into the room
When asked what he’d buy
With our fifty pound note
But is that enough
We pondered and wondered till
Tracy suggested “keep the note” just in case, and
Gladys declared, “There’s nothing in the world
I want to buy.”
So our Fifty Pound note fluttered away
Floating free in our memories
At Kinloch Tay.
Created by residents and staff at Kinloch Tay.
What do doors mean to you?
I love doors,
They open to romance
New adventures, new experiences
But behind the door –
It may be dark.
A door? Can get you in
And out of trouble
Into that bedroom
For a nice night’s kip
But why close the door
Lock the door
Open the door – but Richard
Who has the key?
You can’t be sure
Will something nasty
I open the door
Other ways open
To be used.
Created at Orchard House by Molly, Jean, Audrey, Jin, Meg, Eileen, Alfie, Maria, Val
7th November 2016
I am going through the Magic Door
I am going to the mountains, green and full of flowers
I am going to that beach hut, by the moonlit sea
I am going to a country – warm sand, cool grass
I am going in an aeroplane, first class, up North
I am going to an Island, with all the family
I am going on a sailing boat, sunset in Devon
Me? I am going no-where, I’m happy where I am.
Created at Orchard House by residents including Val, Getty, Sylvia, Joan, Eileen, Hilda.
31 October 2016
I am the ocean
I am the ocean and I am huge
I am the ocean and I am sleepy
I am a boat sailing.
I would be teddy.
I would be a mermaid
I would be a boat
I would be a car
I would be a star
I am the ocean, possible and impossible
I am the ocean, going in and out.
By residents of Kynance care home 2016
I am river
I am the river and I am wide
I would be a rowing boat.
I am water
Children fall into me
I am lovely to walk beside.
I have swum in the river
I am water, flowing slow with lots of boats.
I am home to the fish.
I go slow
People mess about on me, feed the ducks, get muddy.
I would rather be land.
I see such sights and watch the picnics
I see things hanging out of windows.
I go in and out with the tide
I am fast flowing water.
I am liked.
I am just a river.
Written by the residents of Polars Care Home, December 2015
The meaning of Magic?
Watching the film –
After the honeymoon.
My first baby born
Of mystery, spells, excitement
Magic – it’s a load of bunkum!
A day off?
Magic – it means a lot to me
The fact that we’re alive
My good family
Two grandchildren –
Twins – a boy and a girl.
Flying on a broomstick then
Picking my own bananas
Magic – I don't know –
What is it?
Magic – what does it mean to you?
Created at Orchard House by Aileen, Alan, Ann, Audrey, Barbara, Irene, Joan and Joan, Leona, Maria, Molly, Nick, Nina, Phyllis, Val on 3rd October 2016
What do doors mean to you? Go through the door Into the morning America, or home Always welcomed, nothing locked. Privacy; shut out the world No, not lonely if All we love are inside – Is there a room big enough? Doors opening, closing Freedom or imprisonment? Doors, slamming across A childhood memory. Doors? Not a great deal really They do or they don’t But they don’t Always do. Created at Vecta House by Joan, Eileen, Bruce, Tam, Lee, Sheila, Jackie, Ann, Sara, Paula and Gemma on Friday 25 November 2016. Creative writing practitioner Ann Emery adds, "The last three lines were spoken by a 99-year old participant and I thought she offered a lovely poetical insight."
What do doors mean to you?
Go through the door
Into the morning
America, or home
Always welcomed, nothing locked.
Privacy; shut out the world
No, not lonely if
All we love are inside –
Is there a room big enough?
Doors opening, closing
Freedom or imprisonment?
Doors, slamming across
A childhood memory.
Doors? Not a great deal really
They do or they don’t
But they don’t
Created at Vecta House by Joan, Eileen, Bruce, Tam, Lee, Sheila, Jackie, Ann, Sara, Paula and Gemma on Friday 25 November 2016.
Creative writing practitioner Ann Emery adds, "The last three lines were spoken by a 99-year old participant and I thought she offered a lovely poetical insight."