Twice a month Cate and I offer a workshop in the medical library for anyone in the hospital community. Typically it's patients, parents and volunteers who come along, but in July we ran one specifically for staff. It's not an easy proposition in a busy working day, but we were delighted to have a small number to work with.
Many adults will say they 'can't' write a poem or draw a picture because they haven't done it since they were at school. However, given the opportunity to 'play' with paper, pens, words, imagination, and given a structured task, it becomes less intimidating and self-consciousness can disappear.
Capturing memories of the Sciennes site before we move to a purpose built hospital is a current priority and staff feelings about it can be quite strong; recollections poignant.
So how do you put those feelings into a poem? The vehicle we decided to use as a kind of template was, 'The Magic Box' by Kit Wright. We've used it before in the hospital, most notably collecting ideas from different children of their favourite things at Christmas in 2012. The idea is that you imagine a box, give it some kind of purpose, and make verses out of lists of things to put in it.
In Kit Wright's version, there is a lot of sensory detail, lovely sounds together like 'the
swish of a silk sari on a summer night,' and slightly magical images such as 'a
snowman with a rumbling belly' adding up to a wonderfully vivid picture. So in the workshop we packed our boxes with outstanding memories of the hospital.
Here is a lovely example created from our workshop from long-standing speech and language therapist Marysia Nash --- in it she clearly communicates her affection and regard for the Hospital without ever needing to mention those abstract terms. It is the detail that communicates the feeling. We are proud to make her poem our July scribble of the month.
And here is the 'posting box' Marysia refers to - used with children during therapy to allow them to post their attempts at