Honored and thrilled today to give a reading and talk about the relevance of poetry in contemporary society (via video link) to students at College of the Atlantic as part of their seminar: Poetry as Art and Social Action, taught by writer, teacher, and old friend Martha Donovan. Students are writing about the links between poetry and politics, poetry, healing, and medicine and other incredibly important topics.
In honor of National Poetry Day in New Zealand, here’s one of my favorite quotes about poetry from Marvin Bell: “What they say ‘there are no words for’– that’s what poetry is for. Poetry uses words to go beyond words.” And here’s a poem from Murmurations called “Echolocation’ that tries to say that in a different way:
I navigate between
sky and stone
stone and the reflection.
of stone. The trees sing
back to me in my own
voice. I have no need
for vision my ears fine-tuned
to the night’s faint frequencies
making my way through the dark
toward the silences.
Award-winning poet Siobhan Harvey writes, ” Always Nahill’s forms are carefully crafted, the illuminations of his poems resonant.”
One of the most difficult tasks I have as a hospital-based doctor is to assess an individual’s capacity to make decisions for themselves when they are suffering from dementia. When someone lacks this capacity it is sometimes necessary to place them in supported care (e.g. rest home or private hospital) against their will which can be harrowing for both ‘the patient’ and for me.
Photo by Diana Alsindy (Dianablography@wordpress.com)
White hair frames her face riddled with effort.
The blue sea of her hospital gown spattered with egg and oatmeal archipelagoes.
It’s 1964 (it’s not).
I’m her husband (I’m not)
come to take her home again (never again).
She’s lived in that house for more than a lifetime, she says. Planted all the roses.
Her mind is a boat listing badly—
I consign her to the sea.