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Verse Goes Viral

Philipa Coughlan
Thu 21 May, 2020

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (18th-24th May) , we asked beeston's Middle Street Resource Centre's poetry group to tell us how they are coping under Covid19

I left Beeston last summer to move back to the south coast in Eastbourne, but I have kept in touch with some of the wonderful people I met at Middle Street Resource Centre. I went there originally because I had heard of the Poetry Group that meets on a Monday and was struggling because of ill health and depression. The sessions soon became a highlight of my week.

Bridget Dowling, who has been a longstanding member and lovely friend kept in contact with me after I left, and when lockdown came into effect, we both realised how so many of the Poetry Group might be struggling without the weekly contact point on a Monday. With the original idea suggested by poet April Reigns perhaps we could all contribute something by text or email? The idea was born and after two short lines from me kicking it off we have had weekly ‘get togethers’ with a growing number of participants, many regulars, some new poets and some like me past friends who wanted to contribute to the collective verse. There is now enough material perhaps for a book! But whatever the outcome it livens up the week for us all and Bridget sends round verses by email/text and does phone catchups with some of the poets, opening up another avenue of communication.

Middle Street Centre is a fully accessible, single storey community hub at the heart of Beeston next to the bus/tram stops. The Centre hosts the vital Mindset charity, providing huge support for those with varying issues affecting their mental health. It has a wonderful restful garden with volunteers producing plants and produce, walking group, music, arts and crafts and a thriving Café alongside rooms for hire for outside groups and links to help study and therapy and engaging in Wellbeing and recovery opportunities. Originally set up by the wonderful Steve Plowright it shows that the Middle Street Poetry Group goes from strength to strength despite everything the world might throw at it!

Phone lines remain open during the week for support – 0115 925 2516 and for more information or perhaps to give a donation to this charity please check out https://beestoncommunityresource.wordpress.com I look forward to hearing of the day when Middle Street’s doors physically open once more for everyone.

PHILIPA COUGHLAN

________________

SITTING IN MY GARDEN (Tom Machin)

Bee’s buzzing

Birds flitting by

Sitting in my garden

Underneath the blue sky

Nature does not stop

Even though there is

A virus spreading round

It will be summertime soon

It’s wonderful to be alive

You must count your blessings

For a better day

With all this sadness

Gone away.

______________

Seeds (Laura Slack)

Feeling frustrated

Worried and scared

I thought I was ready

Fully prepared

-

It took me by surprise

That I do know

What happens next?

What issues will follow?

-

It makes you think back

To what led you here

The path you once tread

Anticipating no fear.

-

That moment has arrived

The outcome is unknown

Uncertainty is my shell

My seeds have been sown.

___________________

The Lockdown Beard (Will Juckes)

This solitude enforced

Is sweet to the taste

Too bitter the company of man

They don’t do what they should

Speak what does no good

They mock you and deride you

They’ll f*** you if they can

With their economic growth.

-

This seclusion splendid

Is speaking to my soul

Yet only for a season

I seek for company above

Life is naught compared to love

Hearts, minds, heaven, earth

Changing now. New reason

New faith, new hope.

-

When the isolation’s ended

Will we be any more free?

A microcosm of the world, my home

Where private thoughts aren’t private

Silence isn’t quiet

And the toilet isn’t clean

And when will world peace come

When we agree we’ve got enough.

-

The lockdown beard is longer now

Things really had to change

Now the growth’s not economic it’s facial

In life, in death from end to source

God is God. Nature takes its course

Love endures, patient, kind

In full awareness spatial

The voyage has been rough

-

This ship of fools is saved

The beard has been shaved.


This post is tagged in

Middle Street poetry Mental Health

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