North Kent Mind, The Almshouses, 20 West Hill Dartford, Kent, DA1 2EP
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This page is for literary and artistic contributions from people who use our service
Elizabeth’s a smashing friend
Kindness, Goodness, Love she’d send,
People with you, anyone,
Friends or neighbours, daughter, son
We’ll remember you always,
Thinking of our real good days
Every member of the Mind Group
Dartford’s Gravesend’s, Swanley’s troop
Helping us with good advice,
We’ll feel glad, thanks you’re so nice
On Yuesday Mind Group doing art
Pictures that you do are real smart.
Skilful with a steady hand,
Patient and you’ll understand.
Parties, Day’s Out we’ll all go,
Meetings too, we want to know.
Folkestone, Brighton, Eastbourne too,
AGM’s have got news for you
Helping everyone each day,
This is what we have to say:
“Thanks Elizabeth for your love,
Kindness, Peaceful like a Dove, Remembering you, night and day,
Friends we are and friends we’ll stay”.
God Bless You Elizabeth.
This poem was written by Glynis Haxell, as a tribute to Elizabeth Smith, former DGS Mind Service user and member of the Service User Panel, who passed away in early 2011.
During the March – May 2011 season Community Services did a creative writing activity at Swanley. The activity was a great success and here is a selection of the work produced.
My Youth, it’s slipping away
Along with my teeth and hair
My children ask, “Why are you old, Mum,
It’s embarrassing, don’t you care?”
Once I could run for a bus
Without crossing my legs in fear
And I never thought incontinence would get me,
Or that menopause would suddenly appear –
– like a bolt out of the blue
The hot flushes, the tempers, the tears
My husband finds it all so amusing
(bet he wouldn’t with an axe between his ears)
I look in the mirror and wonder
why is everything nearer the ground?
Gravity has taken hold of my body
and where I used to be straight, I’m round
Still I must look on the bright side
and accept what fate has in store –
A slow decline to senility,
an embarrassment to my children once more
I’ve just arrived here and yet I don’t know what to make of the land around me. Where
I have come from seems to make it very strange. It’s really dry at home so this new place
seems dry and difficult as well. I need something to drink but I don’t know where to find
it. Perhaps I just need to walk and see where I get to.
Time seems to drag – yet I must go on. I don’t know how long I can walk for, but I must
just plod on. At last I see some sign of life. There are trees around a stretch of land and
it looks like there is water too. Perhaps that will be like what we have at home – and will
quench my thirst. Perhaps I can find something to eat too, some kind of food. What
can I see now; it looks like someone is there. Perhaps they will be able to help me, but I
don’t know what to say, even if they will understand what I want from them. I must just
try and communicate with them. I pluck up the courage and ask if I can have some water
or something to eat. I’m lucky they are able to help me, and they gently break off some
fruit from a bush and offer me some drink. They then explain that they have animals
which provide food too. It’s not until then that I see these “creatures” with four legs
and lumps under their bodies – quite like the animals we have back at home, and
suddenly I feel happy again. It’s not so different after all. Perhaps life is about to get
better – that hope is really something that can help me get on with my life.
Assessment of the Creative Writing Activity
The writing course we have done was quite an eye-opener for me. The variety of things we have covered has really surprised me, as I don’t really know what I had expected. Some weeks it was really difficult to get going – yet I usually managed to write something in the end. It made me think that perhaps I can do other things that I haven’t always tried to do, and I have already started to do new things.
As regards the writing course itself I have found the things we have actually attempted have given me some satisfaction, and have even showed me that I can actually do more. I found the letter that I sent to David Cameron helped me to get my views over on some major issues – and the fact that I have been able to express myself on paper. I have yet to try to do the same – express myself out loud in a group situation – as this does tend to make me quite nervous. Our other efforts – on different aspects of life – also showed me that we can even surprise ourselves sometimes, by being more vocal in our efforts. I never expected to actually write a poem on my own, or imagine life in a new time dimension, as an alien in a new environment.
On the whole I think the course has been interesting and has helped me to express myself more clearly – though I am not sure how else it can help me.
Swanley arts and crafts animal poetry.
Snakes are scary sometimes
I don’t like them very much
They have scaly skins
That are pretty weird to touch
Their keepers say they’re not so bad,
You have to understand,
Not everything that you can see
Is lovely to handle.
Once I had a dinosaur
He was a million years old
He was so large and mostly stayed out in the cold
He does very big poops and makes the flowers largely grow
He makes a lot of noise running up and down the stairs and leaves big footprints in the snow
He snores very loudly and he smiles very boldly
He eats a lot of food and sometimes gets carried away
But things are not bad because he frightens the troublesome neighbours away