Garden of Reflection Poetry
As I walk along the path, I see flowers blowing to and fro.
I stop to take a photo, in my heart I feel a glow.
A sense of pride for the people who planted these by hand
A reflection of all of those who once walked upon our land.
I suppose I am a lucky one as I have been Covid-free
I sit on a bench and look over at the newly planted tree.
This is where I will come to sit and I can silently pray
And think of all the others that we've lost along the way.
St Helier Hospital ahead of me, all NHS rushed off their feet,
The doctors, nurses, cleaners, scared and lacking sleep.
A pandemic arrived with such a force, the year is 2020,
We're watching the news and taking in advice as there is plenty.
Furlough, key workers, NHS, clapping, remembering, safe,
Rainbows, stay indoors, mask, work from home, hands, face, space.
These are words we keep hearing but the best one's vaccination.
Yes the Pfizer and the Oxford jabs will help to save our nation.
I speak to kind and caring people, as we cut across the green
It's good to talk to others, makes a change from my garden scene
I can hear the children playing, for a while I can forget
I reflect on the year that's passed with sadness and regret.
But things have turned a corner and it's looking bright and cheery,
The sun has got its hat on and we're not feeling so weary.
We are getting back to work and things are beginning to feel more normal
We might not get abroad this year but might make it down to Cornwall.
A garden of reflection on the green and open space.
Rosehill has become my go to happy place.
So thanks to all you people who helped along the way
So we can come here to reflect on life, each and every day.
On this bench, in this garden,
I have space to reflect on,
How our lives keep on changing,
Every single day.
All those souls gone too early,
All that hurt, pain and anger,
All we know is we're left in
Sorrow and dismay.
So we look for some glimmer,
That our world is returning,
To a place that is safer
To live, work and play.
On this bench, in this garden,
I can see new life starting,
Giving hope for our futures,
Every single day.
I sit here quietly and think of you,
what happened and what we have missed together,
I sit here quietly and reach for you,
looking at the sun still shining, and hearing the birds still singing,
The world remains turning forever.
I will always remember the day you left here,
Your smallness and grace,
You were so loved, but could not stay any longer,
So I reflect upon this gift you have given me, of an everlasting love,
whenever I consider your aura and beautiful face.
You have changed me as a person,
You have made me better,
I am also thankful to those that cared for you,
When in this garden, I will imagine us all holding hands together.
There will always be darkness, and there will always be light,
May the impact we have on others, continue to be full of hope, and be bright.
Who’s to know what the other is going through,
When we haven’t been through it too.
We were brought together and torn apart,
But who’s to say who had the worst part?
Maybe it was the workers on the frontlines,
Who had to say the final goodbyes.
Or maybe the families that lost a loved one,
Or the father who couldn’t say hello to his son.
Or perhaps it was the teachers wrought with exhaustion,
Or maybe the key workers who returned to work with caution.
Maybe it was the students whose education was disrupted,
All we know is that we were ALL instructed,
To stay at home, stay safe,
So that we could all save the NHS.
In a world torn apart by an enemy unseen,
We just wanted to go back to twenty-nineteen,
But twenty-twenty was the year
Where we all stood and shed a tear,
For the bravery and fearlessness of the first line of defence,
We wouldn’t have survived without the NHS.
So, we are all so grateful to everyone who played their part,
For the world came together despite being forced apart.
-Olivia Chantler (age 17)-
You made me laugh,
You made me smile,
Now I won’t see you for a while.
You bought us treats,
You liked to eat,
But now you’re in an eternal sleep.
We watched BFG,
We watched Postman Pat,
Whilst snuggled up on your lap.
We went to the playground,
We had brilliant days out,
The best of holidays, without a doubt.
I will always talk to you,
I know you will always be here,
It hurts to say goodbye, but our memories, I hold dear.
-Toby Cranefield (age 10)-
A pinch of grumpiness
½ teaspoon of appetite
1 teaspoon of loyalty
5 tablespoons of charitableness
6 ounces of honour
10 grams of reliability
11 millilitres of helpfulness
1 cup of kisses
3 cups of cuddles
1 pint of fun
1 pint of funniness
100 millilitres of friendly
10 cups of tickles
20 tablespoons of cheer
300 grams of proud
1. Pour the fun into a bowl.
2. Then add the grumpiness with the appetite.
3. Next mix until nice and fat.
4. After that sprinkle in the loyalty.
5. Following that, combine the charitability, helpfulness and reliability.
6. Whisk together.
7. Once you have done that combine the cuddles, kisses and honour.
8. Then add the proud and cheer.
9. Next, put in the tickles and friendliness.
10. Finally, pat in the funniness and agitate.
11. Enjoy the jolly good fellow.
-Libby Cranefield (Age 8)-
John Frederick Banks was born on the 6th August 1944 and passed away from Covid on the 12th January 2021. A much loved grandad (Grumpsy) to Toby and Libby
I am not an Intensive Care NurseI am just a meI am not as hard and weathered as I thoughtI am actually more horrified than I believed I could be.
I think of the sturdy, tattooed man from last nightI whispered only this morning: “I will see you tonight”And then I arrived and looked for my hope of hopeBut while I was sleeping, he had lost his fight.
And deflated, I look over at the 39 year oldIn the bed across, tubed and dyingHis organs all beaten, betraying himI am on the verge of cryingBut I don’t.
Instead I listen - and my skin pricklesThere is beautiful music hereAn Islamic Prayer his mother has asked us to playThey hold the iPhone gently to his earThis prayer - it is her touch, her kiss, her ‘please live another day’.
I realise that I am hearing true love transportedHis mother’s love is tangible; emotive its wavesHer desperate gift of comfort without presenceSo heartbreaking a way to end one’s days.
To watch a person die aloneAmongst strangers in space suits and masksThis is what rips at my resilienceIt is soul destroying, I turn away, pretend to be immersed in tasksBut I am crying now -and for once- glad of my visor and mask.
I am a Staff Nurse, I worked in ICU during the first COVID wave and this is one of the poems I wrote after my nightshift.
It is not waste - not waste - to sit and think
Although our thoughts of late have tasted sour
Cause pity stirs the waters that we drink
For all the souls now trembling at the brink
Of life, and all who've crossed it to this hour
It is not waste - not waste - to sit and think
The ache beneath the armour... see the chink
Through which our griefs lens all their raging power
While pity stirs the waters that we drink
Then why reflect? Why round and round the rink
If there's no end, no crown within the tower?
Is it a waste - a waste - to sit and think?
Well, there is One who sat and thought, then sank
For us, that hell might never more devour
For pity stirred the waters that He drank
So rest, dear friend, upon these words I ink
Let Hurry, if it even sees you, cower
It is not waste - not waste - to sit and think
When pity stirs the waters that we drink
1. Light bulbs have gone out in the lounge, utility room, dining room, hall....where are you Den?
2. The toilet has sprung a leak....where are you Den?
3. What’s this bird with the black head I can see....where are you Den?
4. The cleaner won’t clean any more....where are you Den?
5. Which days do the bins go out?....where are you Den?
6. I’ve run out of veg from the allotment....where are you Den?
7. The dryer has stopped mid-spin....where are you Den?
8. I would like these letters to be posted please....where are you Den?
9. The can opener won’t open this tin....where are you Den?
10. The phones are on the blink....where are you Den?
11. The candle flame is going wild in the holder....where are you Den?
12. I can’t reach this packet on the top shelf....where are you Den?
13. The front drive is frozen solid....where are you Den?
14. The printer is spewing black ink at me....where are you Den?
15. The birds are looking for crumbs....where are you Den?
16. There’s a three day leak on the patio wrecking frozen havoc....where are you Den?
17. Fancy a game of Scrabble?....where are you Den?
....I miss you so much....where are you Den?
1. Look through the bulb box for replacements, then move upstairs if necessary where it is light, then call an electrician.
2. Call SES.
3. Look in the Garden Bird Book.
4. Order a new one online.
5. Look in the Council leaflet.
6. Order some in my home delivery from Sainsbury’s.
7. Give it a (gentle) kick to start it again!
8. Postie and neighbours have offered to do this for me.
9. Order a new one with my Sainsbury’s order.
10. Order new ones online.
11. Get a damp towel to douse it.
12. Find the grabber to get it down.
13. A kind neighbour gritted it without my asking.
14. Sit down, have a cup of coffee, calm down and then clear up the mess.
15. They’ll have to manage without till the weather is better.
16. Call SES.
17. I’ve set it up...I’ll work something out.
You see, I told you I’d be able to cope.
But I miss you so much....where are you Den?
My husband of 65 years, Den Francis, died on 31 August 2020.
The year is 2020,
The bog roll is on ration,
The pasta shelves are empty,
Selling like it’s going out of fashion.
We’re all in isolation,
We must not leave the house,
At first this seemed ideal,
But now you’re stuck in with your spouse.
The kids are not at school,
The internet’s so slow,
You’re all dressed up on Friday night,
With nowhere you can go.
The pubs and bars and theatres,
Are all closing their doors,
“Self-isolate” they said,
Gathering in hundreds in the stores.
Your holidays been cancelled,
That festival – it’s off,
A fight breaks out on public transport,
Everytime. You. Cough.
The supermarkets say,
“Buy only what you need”
But Sharon’s out there stockpiling,
The epitome of greed.
The news is filled with worry,
And Boris Johnsons face,
The elderly can’t buy their food,
This country’s a disgrace.
No handshaking, no fist pumps,
No hugging or high fives,
The doctors and the nurses,
Working hard and saving lives.
If you’re struggling with isolation,
If you feel like you’re losing your mind,
Here’s a list of things to do,
Start with being kind.
Share those extra bog rolls,
Check in on old dear Doris,
Phone that friend, Walk Dave’s dog,
Just stop watching Boris.
Read a book, watch a movie,
Do the things you like,
Paint that wall, meditate,
Or learn to ride a bike.
In these uncertain times,
Remember nothing lasts forever,
And whilst it seems a little scary,
We’re all in this together.
Give it time, take a breath,
Soon it will all be gone,
For now let’s do what Brits do best,
Keep calm and carry on.
When I cried, Mama said,
“This too shall pass.”
Doubtful she knew of the Persian king
who in sadness turned to wise men;
they gave him a ring,
inscribed with these words.
But Mama knew these things:
A foot on a pedal – a row of stitching, done.
A car at a crossing as the train trundles on,
A bee absent-mindedly pollinates a flower,
Somewhere in a bower a blossom drops.
There’s the fire’s dying glimmer,
A shimmer of heat haze rises from the road,
A heart breaks
from the weight
of its heavy load.
Then there’s you, struggling uphill –
at the top you stand still, catch your breath.
Shall I give you a ring
with the King’s refrain?
For pain is only pain,
and sometimes there’s nothing to do
but say, “This too, this too.”
According to Persian legend, a king commanded his wise men to give him a gift that would make him feel happy when he was sad. They gave him a simple ring, with the inscription; ‘This too shall pass’.
Open up your hands:
see all the useless
sift through your grasp.
For time is falling sand;
circling hunt of sun and shade.
This, too, will pass.
Smooth out the slate;
no longer keep a score.
Lament the fallen leaves.
Just take this day,
this reckless light:
watch every moment yield.
Surrender to the calm of ritual;
memorial silence of the
solemn roses, sunlit lawn.
Let go of all that was before.
And let us celebrate
the love that will remain.
The poem is in memory of my mother, Stella Anderson, who I lost recently. She was in Ryelands care home and the pandemic was very difficult as we could not see her much. I feel I have lost the last year of her life completely.
For all those able to see through this mess
I adore your valiant heart
I envy the air between us
It’s only aim - to keep us apart
But for now if it’s all that’s allowed
I guess that’s where we’ll start
A smile and wave to begin your day
For the early morning joggers
Primary school teachers
The friendly dog walkers
And all the other souls that get by
For some might feel a sense within
Calling them to play it safe
For everyone's sake
Listen to that and we’ll be on our way
To merrier times before us
No staying away from passersby
Instead I’ll greet you as friend
From a safe distance no doubt
We’ll let that be enough for now
And find ways to feel close somehow
When the new year comes
I’ll look back and think
The words we shared was time well spent
I joked to my son that I was born in a white shining palace on a hill!
As we take vantage point across the borough, you see it still.
And it listens
To each beating heart!
It has tales of the nation’s heroes,
And of each family’s heroes
As on their next journey
They have had to depart!
I said goodbye to a godmother and best friend,
Joined by Aultone Ways
I found it hard to comprehend.
But both had their ways, to tell you their truth.
I ponder them both in age and youth.
So I am thanking them both
For loving and sharing.
The same to St Helier, my white palace of caring.
I thank the staff, all knights for
And I thank you in this garden
For reflecting and remembering.
So please, please, Please!
Celebrate them and yourselves through living.
When I look out into the world,
I see the birds, performing their morning chirp,
But for some people,
It's the last they ever heard.
It all starts with a cough, they say,
Then what comes next is utter dismay,
Eyes closed, but mouth always open,
Eventually, they get taken away.
Our warriors are overwhelmed,
Are brought down, by complete stress,
Our leader has been hit, too,
For Great Britain, this poses a threat.
A dark calamitous figure enters,
When, weakened, are our defenders,
Looming over the vulnerable human,
Picks them up and takes them to a different world.
They never got to say their goodbye,
For eternity, they will feel the strife,
Why did he have to take him?
From his life?
My head filled with defeat,
People around me who can't even scream,
For their lungs are infested with phlegm,
Will sleep, possibly never fulfilling their dreams.
-Sarvajeet Singh (age 13)-
23rd March 2020
"Lockdown!" Boris said.
From that day on,
Our minds were always filled with dread.
Among all of us
So many have parted.
So many of their lives
Had barely even started.
This caused issues
Like making us depressed.
Some of us, including me,
Always felt distressed.
It was horrible:
Being stuck at home.
Also, days were not great
When we were only on our phones.
But then came along our saviours
The people who came to our aid
The people who we needed
The people for whom we prayed.
Joe Wicks doing his daily exercises,
I am definitely his number 1 fan!
He dressed up in many costumes:
Harry Potter, a panda, and even Batman!
Rest in peace Captain Tom
He was a hero to us all.
He prevented the coronavirus
From taking a much larger toll.
And thank god for Zoom,
To keep us all together
It helped us so much
And kept us from under the weather.
And what about Comic Relief?
They were all so very funny!
And on top of that
They also raised a large sum of money!
We have to say
A Much deserved thank you,
To the NHS;
They are still giving us help
Even under all this stress.
Finally, let’s not forget ourselves:
Thursday’s at 8 we clapped and cheered,
For all the Key Workers out there,
Who had faced what we feared.
So thank you to our Lockdown heroes,
For keeping us from going mad,
In a situation
That could have made the whole world sad.
-Adam Craigen (age 12)-
A rainbow is a symbol of hope that emerges from the rain,
Green is for the nature that will heal itself,
Blue is for when you’re sad but yellow is for the happiness that will shine through,
Red is for sending love and thanks,
Orange is for the warmth of kindness,
Purple brings calm to an anxious time,
Together they make a beautiful rainbow,
Always keep a rainbow with you and let the sun shine through!
-Nia McManus (age 15)-
Coronavirus you’ve taken so much,
You’ve hidden our loved ones away from our touch,
You’ve cancelled our plans and our trips away,
We’re stuck in our homes, where for now we must stay.
School has been cancelled, our lessons online,
It was exciting at first, but now lost its shine.
We miss our friends and the daily routine,
Chats in the playground and jokes in the canteen.
But we will do it forever, if that’s what it takes,
Because corona has threatened the highest of stakes.
We will stay inside and follow the rules,
We will draw rainbows, bake cakes and do some homeschool.
We really don’t care that life is on hold,
As when this is all over, our family we’ll hold.
When lockdown is lifted and we’re allowed out,
We’ll appreciate our freedom - without a doubt.
We’ll be proud of the time the world went to sleep.
To keep loved ones safe, until then hugs will keep.
-Aakash Das (age 12)-
All people are thankful,
To those who are a saving grace,
So help them,
By remembering hands, face and space
Doctors, nurses and people on the front line,
All these people are aiding us in our time of need,
And risking their lives for yours and mine,
Acts of selflessness while they take no heed,
To the danger that are malign,
Nurturing people back to health,
No matter how long it may take,
With no cost of wealth,
No matter an ache or a bone break,
It’s a huge blessing,
Saved by pure light,
Saved, by angels.
-Shaheer Sami (age 12)-
I see the warriors,
Riding valiantly into battle,
Battle gear shining,
In all shades of blue,
I see the sky,
Darkening around them,
Clouds swelling with fear,
As the enemy draws up,
I see the swords,
Slashing through the air,
Breaking in vain,
As they rush through the hospital,
I see the fear,
Caging the soldiers,
Ruling their lives,
As they struggle on.
I see hope,
The beautiful thing,
Is stronger than fear.
I see hope,
In the NHS,
The courageous warriors,
The rainbow in the darkness.
-Tejaswi Sankuratri (age 12)-
I woke to the sound of the screeching blue sirens.
The front door was flung open- paramedics ran in;
My home became a battleground in the 3am silence,
As you fought for your life, fought to keep your heart beating.
The living room was littered with ECGs and breaking hearts,
Paint ran down the walls like my grandfather’s tears;
They carried you out, down the old, greying path,
We waved goodbye, clutching onto silent prayers.
My family worked tirelessly, that night and all others,
23 hour shifts in the ITU;
Even now, their hands ache from the weight of shattered futures,
But they still reach out to hold my hands, too.
They march into hospital, they face death head-on every day,
Their war paint is their smiles and their armour is their strength;
They bring light to the lives of the lives that they save,
And they bring light to me with their every breath.
They never thought the life they’d have to save would be yours,
But they did; they did, and they brought you home to me.
We had been suffocating whilst you fought for breath,
But you returned to our home, to our arms, to our family-
But many were not so lucky as we were,
And we still face a painful, difficult fight;
So we remember all those who did not make it,
And we pray that this darkness soon gives way to the light.
-Imaan Haider (age 16)-
The ward is loud and ugly as the sun starts to go down.
A thousand colours greet my face, a blur of blue and brown.
Nurses move from bed to bed, doing the best they can
But as the people come and go, every woman and every man
I see despair look back at me, hopes rise and fall nonstop.
I try to smile and raise their spirits before I let them drop.
Then all at once the crying starts, wails from beside one bed.
I don’t want to look; I want to run; another one is dead.
Later on they tell me there was nothing we could do.
He was old and he was sick. He couldn’t make it through.
I think about his family, the loss of their dear father.
Or perhaps more children sitting by, minus a godfather.
I think about the family friends, the ones with whom he spoke
The ones who never said goodbye, before his final choke.
I let the tears fall down my face. Think about my beloved
Wonder how they’d feel here? Would they feel unloved?
As I write this down I reminisce on the past of those who died
Maybe a daughter, son, a mother or even a newlywed bride.
The huge group of those who passed, at least thousands-membered.
I just want them all to know that they will be remembered.
-Elsa Clements (age 14)-
The two of us, Life and I, were lying in a field one day.
Life took my hand, our fingers interlocking,
We stared at the cerulean sky, then to the dew tipped grass.
It looked like a painting,
As if the universe saw the Earth as a crisp white canvas,
Seized the paintbrush
Dipped it into a kaleidoscopic rainbow,
And meticulously planned each stroke,
Until it became natural, perfection, a dream.
Life lifted its head, sat up, and smiled at me.
A genuine, unfeigned smile.
It was at that point I noticed that Life had a little sunshine following him wherever he went.
However optimistic life was,
We couldn’t help but notice the changes.
Yes-we are in the same place.
The peaceful field has not changed.
But everything else has.
Life looked at me as we realised,
It’s been a hard year.
We were grateful for the ones who made it,
And dearly missing the ones that didn’t.
There was a lot to miss.
The children running around,
The old couple taking their daily walk.
The families hugging and laughing.
There was a lot to reflect on.
The love that we’ve lost,
The people that we’ve missed,
The memories we never got to have.
But there’s a lot to look forward to.
Running into our families arms,
Finally travelling again
And being able to make up the missed memories.
Life and I had not left our quiet place,
We could not physically be there,
But we could remember how it used to be,
So Life and I watched the clouds float past,
Making out the intricate shapes crafted so elegantly in the sky,
And with the sun rays beaming down on us like a spotlight.
We embraced in our quiet place,
So Life held my hand, put its arm around my waist, gently stroked the side of my face, and softly kissed my lips.