Lydia Fulleylove

 

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poet & writer

WHEN WE CAME TO THE PLACE

When we came to the place
where the ducks were dozing,
the Cypress stirring,
and the willow whispering

We heard the moorhens squabbling,
the ducks beeping and chuckling
and the gulls squawking

We saw the lazy fish basking and gulping,
the water reflecting and shimmering
and the heron like a statue

We smelt the scent of the swamp-cypress
like the tree's nectar

We felt the sticky sap of the tree's blood,

we rubbed the patterns of the bark,
we drew inspiration from all around us

and we took away the memory
of being with such nice people.

Group poem from Sevenacres

SORROW, DESPAIR, INTERRUPT

Green is not sorrow or pain,
green views, not despair around me,
green will never fade away
within my view.
Green is peace. Far around me
are ducks new and old,
my struggles are not here
green is not interrupting me,
green is lovely, aware I am.

Poem by a patient from Sevenacres

 

 

WOODLAND WALKS

"Walking is our oldest means of motion, and footfall – along with heartbeat and breath – is one of the first three rhythms of human life. To the pace of the lifted and shifted leg we have set our ways, measured our memories, told our tales. The footprint is our original letter and the path our earliest story" Robert Macfarlane

Woodland Walks was a community arts, health and landscape project on the Isle of Wight, inspired by the woodland at Quarr Abbey and by the grounds of St Mary's Hospital. It was led by myself and artist Liz Tate in partnership with Healing Arts. We set out to nurture creative response, a sense of wonder and greater awareness of the natural world, and to increase physical and mental well being, both through direct contact with the beauty around us and through writing and visual image.

"Caminar es ateosorar: to walk is to gather treasure" Spanish saying

The Brotherhood of Benedictine Monks at Quarr Abbey enabled us to work in a place of tranquillity and beauty and we were supported by the Mental Health Teams at Sevenacres, Isle of Wight NHS Trust and our funders, the East Wight Landscape Project.

We worked with two groups: on site at Quarr Abbey, with people in the wider community who might previously have experienced mental ill health; and with in- patients at Sevenacres, the Island psychiatric unit. Here, we were not only able to 'bring the outside in' by sharing 'treasure' from the Quarr group, but also to walk gently, to look and to listen among the beautiful trees in the grounds of St Marys.

"Every day I walk myself into a state of well being and away from illness"
S. Kierkegaard 1847

Our walks on both sites took us through the passage of seasons, from early spring to mid-summer, the sun nearly always shining through the woodland at Quarr or on the pond at St Marys, as the trees flowered and the leaves greened. Not everyone was able to take part in every workshop, but it was remarkable how well the groups worked together and how one person's thoughts sparked another's when writing collaboratively. Many of the resulting poems and artworks were written in this way and show this cross fertilisation of ideas and the varied creative response of the whole group. Together, Liz and I created a book and an artwork, (exhibited in Sevenacres), celebrating the wonder and excitement of the groups' response.

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