How Writing And Reading Poetry Is A Healing Activity

Another year – and poetry is still alive with the comfort of a short verse which says what you can identify with in times of sadness, love or joy, says Gill Ward.

‘It is  is a pick me up when you need a space in the chaos.

‘Recently a lovely woman died after a long, stoic, and painful battle with cancer.

I had known her for nearly 50  years. This made me look at the poems I had written when my twin sister was in this position

They asked me to read a poem for her at the unveiling a year later. I wrote two poems, one how I really felt and the poem that was right for the occasion. The first poem was personal and I said it all. Here are the last three lines:

O sister

you are the only person 

who would understand.

And here is the poem I wrote to read on the day —


This is the remembering day

as if we would forget you.

But we are all remembering something different, 

husband, mother, daughters, sons, grandchildren,

sisters, nieces, nephews, friends.

In no particular order, as they say. 

But not withstanding

you are the first in this order.

We are putting you back together with

our dear and precious thoughts.

O, would that we could.

And we all have something different 

to think just now, right here

but I say

if we could gather every one of those thoughts

every one of those treasured, beloved memories

and weave them into a splendid cloak 

we would wrap you in it, 

wind it about you and then

we would not be able to help ourselves,

we would climb in with you.

Yet in spite of this I can hear you say

I am safe

I love you all

It is enough.


So remember to regard poetry in a medical fashion. Writing and reading poetry is a healing activity.

It can sooth and comfort . It can take as long or short a time as you wish. Try it for 2022 — Gill

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