Reflection on writing group, 5th July, poetry

Setting: adult mental health unit
Group (pseudonyms): Angela, Ben, Colin, me.
Poems read/discussed:
Hope by Lisel Mueller;
Hope by Emily Dickinson;
When Happiness Returns After a Long Absence by Penelope Shuttle (thank you Victoria Field for introducing me to this poem);
Then later, towards the end of the session:
The Uncertainty of the Poet by Wendy Cope.

We read the first 3 poems silently and then aloud. Each poem was read aloud by 2 members of the group so we got to hear different voices. We chatted a while about the poems and then we each chose either a poem, or a line from a poem, to use for writing inspiration.

With permission I reproduce here the writing that one or more of the first 3 poems inspired Colin to write:

Hope is an entity that cannot
be Disputed
The Devil is the Enemy
That always is Defeated.
Don’t let your Mighty
Share of Hope ever be
By any Devilish Doubt
Or Fear or Whisper:-
Let Christ, One of Whose
Names is Hope –
Along with Your Own Eternal
Faith and Your Generous
Be Your Guardian All Your
And Then You’ll Live in Hope
And His Generous Happiness.

Next we had some fun with the Wendy Cope poem. In this poem Wendy Cope starts with these lines “I am a poet / I am very fond of bananas” then the rest of the poem uses only the words in the first two lines. We had a great laugh producing something along the same lines and reading them aloud to the group.

Here is Colin’s poem:

I am a Martian.
Am I a Martian art?
Martian art I am.
Am I an Art?
Martian? Am I Art?
I am.
I am a Martian Art.
I am : – I am.

I have found that poetry frequently brings out strong emotions in group members and this session was no exception – there were tears from one of us and, later, laughter from all of us. Tears are not necessarily a bad thing, especially if they come in response to an emotional poem. And laughter of course is the best medicine they say 🙂

Link to Victoria Field’s web page:


About Carol Ross

Interested in therapeutic writing.
This entry was posted in Poetry, reflective practice, Writing Ideas and Prompts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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