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.

Their Keys

Doors and Keys


It's Not Nice Being Hungry

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

Said “Freedom”

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.

September 2016

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?


The door

You can’t be sure

Will something nasty

Come through?

I open the door

Other ways open


Doors –

They’re there

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



Olive's Key


Travel Poem


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!


Spiritual, imagination

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."