Poems for Kids

poems for kids in English | download free pdf
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Published Date:04-07-2017
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Poems for…those who wait A selection from www.poemsfor.orgIntroduction A collaborative venture The poems which appear in this pamphlet come from a project which I have run since 1998, called Poems for… By then I was well established in Westminster as a mental health social work manager. Initially I was employed by Westminster City Council but then went free-lance, eventually retiring towards the end of 2013. And through all that time I worked closely with people at all levels of the organisation now called CNWL. It has therefore been a real pleasure to engage in this collaborative venture with them. In fact, roving the patch over the years, I have often tried out the project’s poem-posters on CNWL territory. The reception area at 209 Harrow Road was one such test-bed (the Paddington community mental health teams were based there, for a while). The Gordon Hospital in Pimlico and St Charles Mental Health Centre in north Kensington have also displayed the poems at different times. And I should not forget that I once went to Peter Carter, then Chief Executive of CNWL, now of the Royal College of Nursing, and asked for his advice on funding. Peter said, why not write to Sir Nigel Crisp (the Head of the NHS at that time)? I did so and was soon receiving funding from NHS Estates. Thank you, Peter. It is fitting that such a long relationship should now result in this pamphlet. We want it to be freely available wherever CNWL provides its services. We hope the poems and photographs will speak to people and offer some human touch. More on Poems for… Poems for… publishes small poem-posters online and free of charge for public display in schools, libraries and healthcare settings. The poem-posters go all over the United Kingdom, and indeed to every continent in the world. Many of the poems are bilingual, with fifty-one languages represented so far, besides English. (Our fifty-first language is Burmese). The Poems for… website is www.poemsfor.org. Once you register there (free of charge), you can view and download hundreds of poems, from various collections compiled at different times over the past fifteen years. However, there are three main collections, and the poems selected here come from those three. They are called: Poems for…waiting, Poems for…all ages and Poems for…one world. All the poems from the waiting collection were especially commissioned, with the express intention that they should be displayed in healthcare settings, where people wait. So there are no copyright implications as far as these poems are concerned. In all the other cases where copyright applies, we were given free permission to publish the poems, on condition that they were only displayed to ease the wait and for no commercial gain. More details about the Poems for… project can be found on the website. I will just say here that, over the years, Poems for… has attracted a significant number of funders. 5The main ones have been the Arts Council of England and the NHS itself. Others include the King’s Fund, the Baring Foundation, the Foreign Office, the John Lewis Partnership and - most recently - NHS Westminster (now replaced by NHS Central London CCG). I also want to refer to the many people who have written to me over the years, expressing their enthusiasm for these poems. Here are just four: Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the UK National Health Service 2006-2014: “The Poems for… initiative has made a valuable contribution to making NHS waiting rooms a more welcoming and sensitive environment for patients and the series of poems celebrating diversity has been particularly well received.” Andrew Motion, UK Poet Laureate 1999-2009, contributed a poem to Poems for…waiting, launched our first bilingual collection in 2005, and launched the Poems for… website in 2008. He writes: “This is an inspired scheme… I’ve been delighted to be part of it.” A.L. (Mrs) NHS Receptionist, Wiltshire: “Dear Mr Wolf, I have received the new bilingual Poems for… collection and I am totally delighted with them… One of the most striking aspects is that no matter what language and what ethnic background, our hopes, feelings and dreams are the same. Thank you once again…” AK, ex-psychiatric patient, St Charles Mental Health Centre, north Kensington: “Thank you so much for sending me a pack of poems. I really enjoy reading the poems… And with surprise we discover how similar we are. We feel as human beings. Your project helps us to become aware of ‘one world…’” The photographs Marta Demartini and Hugh Hill produced the photographs for this pamphlet. Both are professional photographers, living in Westminster. Hugh Hill uses CNWL services. My thanks are due to them for helping me with the selection of their photographs and for taking such wonderful pictures in the first place. Last words on the poems Each poem comes with its own story and reason for inclusion. Those are briefly told in the short notes beneath each text. The Poems for… project was originally inspired by a sense of how hollow, impersonal and fraught the healthcare waiting room can be, however carefully furnished and decorated. And shouldn’t poetry be more than just some specialised exercise restricted to literary festivals and high-brow bookshops? Let it sit alongside people in the waiting room, then, and speak to them there So, although nowadays most of the project’s poems go to schools, the waiting room feels like our spiritual home, to the extent that our first title was precisely that - Poems for the waiting room. Our collaboration with CNWL to produce this pamphlet has been a real pleasure. It has taken us back to our roots. Rogan Wolf 6 These are the Hands These are the hands These are the hands That fill the bath That touch us first Mop the floor Feel your head Flick the switch Find the pulse Soothe the sore And make your bed. Burn the swabs These are the hands Give us a jab That tap your back Throw out sharps Test the skin Design the lab. Hold your arm Wheel the bin And these are the hands That stop the leaks Change the bulb Empty the pan Fix the drip Wipe the pipes Pour the jug Carry the can Replace your hip. Clamp the veins Make the cast Log the dose And touch us last. Michael Rosen (b. 1946) Michael Rosen was commissioned to write this poem in 2008, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS that year. He was the UK Children’s Laureate at the time and wrote the poem with children in mind. The response it has received suggests that it has been appreciated by many adults too. Michael gave the Poems for... project his enthusiastic permission to reproduce his poem and to translate it into various languages. He will be happy to know that it has been published here as well. 8 Prayer in the Waiting Room Banished from health I enter the unknown As the Two did stumbling from Paradise. Never in my life have I felt so alone. In this doctor’s waiting room, many-eyed, My censored secrets are married to my fears Like a shot-gun bridegroom to his bride. When I was a child I thought blue, I said green And with a magician’s sleight of hand, jubilant, Would squeeze apple-pips from a tangerine Now, doctor, magic me. Let me be released From clawing ills, let home be Eden-like Where, thankfully, I may fast for God or feast. Dannie Abse (b. 1923) Dannie Abse is a GP. His poem is one of fifty that were especially commissioned for the Poems for... project, all on the subject of waiting. At some point, each one of us has to sit and wait, including our doctors. 10 Consultation He doesn’t look too good, Suit not as snappy. His tie’s a bit frayed. He doesn’t look happy. Domestic difficulties, Staff shortages, cuts? In the driving seat no longer. Driven nuts. He doesn’t look too hot. Has he been up all night? I’ll be supportive - “Doc. Are you all right?” Chris Woods Like Dannie Abse on the previous page, Chris Woods is a GP and his poem is one of fifty commissioned by the project Poems for..., all on the subject of waiting. His poem offers an interesting perspective on the doctor/patient relationship 12 Dancing in the Waiting Room All our living is in waiting. In these moments we find our myriad selves: anxious, hopeful, trembling, wishful, fearful, impatient. All our dancing shadows are there flitting in the half-light of unreason, crowding together in fevers of movement, never still, never one. Then a voice says ‘Next’, and a new dance begins. Angus Macmillan Here is another poem from the Poems for...waiting collection, commissioned by the Poems for... project. This one was originally written in Scottish Gaelic (see opposite page), and translated into English by the author. 14 Dannsa ‘san t-seòmar-feitheamh Thà ar beatha gu leir ‘san fheitheamh. Lorgaidh sinn aig an àm sin ar sinn-fein do-àireamh: trioblaideach, dòchasach, critheanach, miannach, eagalach, mì-fhoighidneach. Thà.ar faileasan-dannsa gu leir an sin ag imrich ann an leth-sholus do mhì-reuson, dòmhlachadh le-chèile ann an teasachan do ghluasad, gun fhois, gun aonachd. ‘S nuair a chanas gùth ‘An ath dhuine’, bidh danns ùr ri tòiseachadh. Angus Macmillan 15Please Take a Seat Draw a picture of a seat that you would rather take and wonder where to take it. It will not be one of these. Draw it in a comfy room with nine soft things. Cradle your pain in your hands, stroke it gently, like a bird, and place it on the seat that you have drawn. Sit proudly, smally, catly, shyly, giantly, and still. Count the colours you can see, and fill yourself with light. Think of twenty words to do with trees, and words that rhyme with ‘heather’. Make some up. Write a poem about the sky. List all the words you can for ‘wonderful’ and remember you are all of these. Now imagine you’re invisible until you’ve counted up to five in Urdu : eik, doh, tin, char, panj. You will be seen shortly. Judy Tweddle This is another of the fifty poems about waiting, commissioned by the Poems for... project. The author Judy Tweddle lives near Birmingham. 16 17from Bell-ringing ...The attainment of perfect rest is when chaos is held on a point; and poised, just so, the moment cups you. Here in the waiting room I am cupped. I am held aloft. My poise is perfect here. I am almost flying. Rogan Wolf (b. 1947) This is an excerpt from a poem dedicated to a mental health carer. There was a time when she was sitting at the bed-side of her daughter, who was dangerously ill in hospital. The carer was due to return home to her husband who has ongoing mental health problems. In those circumstances, the hospital waiting room was a place of peace and refuge for her, however transitory. The excerpt has been reproduced here with the author’s permission. 18 19The Carers’ June Berry Caring is the ground of human being Trees begin with only ground. Shyly they cling to it, desperate for its riches and continuity. May the ground of our June Berry be rich and continuous – so that in years ahead, past our knowledge, today’s quiet planting in a small park of this vast, north-western city will make a song of praise each time the wind blows. May the song be rich and the tree vivid in the June sunshine. May the weary ground find voice in the light-hearted song of this tree. Rogan Wolf (b. 1947) 20 The poem opposite was commissioned by Carers Network Westminster. It was recited one summer’s day in 2003, in Queen’s Park, north Westminster, as part of a tree-planting ceremony. Karen Buck MP presided, planting a small tree in honour of the work of mental health carers. June Berry is the name of a particular kind of tree. The poem has been reproduced here with the author’s permission. 21Prison Man said: Blessed are the birds in their cages For they, at least, know the limits Of their prisons. Mourid Barghouti (b. 1944) The author of this poem, Mourid Barghouti, lives in Cairo, Egypt. His native Arabic tongue (see oppposite page) is spoken, of course, not just in Egypt, but in a large number of countries across the Middle East. With this in mind, Mourid Barghouti asked me to make clear that he is a Palestinian poet. The poem was translated into English by the poet’s wife Radwa Ashour. Prison comes from a collection by Mourid Barghouti called A Small Sun, published by The Poetry Trust, 2003. Reprinted by permission. 22 23“I have Recalled…” I have recalled, more than once recalled the sick heart galloping like a startled horse: everything in the light of the full moon pale and unreal. And in the silence, suddenly a hint of fire that reminds and brings tidings, makes thirsty and satisfies, wounds and heals. Ra’hel Bluwstein (1890-1931) From Flowers of Perhaps published by The Toby Press in 2008. The poem was translated from the Hebrew (see opposite page) by Robert Friend with Shimon Sandbank. Reprinted by permission of the copyright holder, Jean Shapiro Cantu. In Israel the poet is known simply as Ra’hel ( ). 24 25from Vinopolis … Don’t worry we will note your concern Oh we did not know about you Nobody said you had influence Just thought you’d be another Spaz We are a “learning organisation” But, really, can we ever learn? David Morris (1959-2010) The late David Morris lived all his life with serious physical disabilities. He was an inspirational campaigner, loved and admired by many. At the time of his premature death, he was working intensively on preparations for the 2012 Olympics, on behalf of the Mayor of London. As well as writing his own poetry, he made films and explored how different art forms could be used to promote the cause of equality and human rights. With David’s help, the Poems for... project contributed to the Mayor of London’s Equalities Report of 2006/2007. Soon before he died, the project published this poem with his permission. 26 27

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