The power in your poetry

Anyone who has attended one of the HeartEdge Culture Clinics knows our enthusiasm for poetry and spoken word: writes Cultural Development worker Sarah Rogers.

Last week, I attended a talk by the playwright David Hare at the Hay Winter Festival who has been turning his hand to poetry, experimenting without an intention to be published, for the pure pleasure of it. Of course, now these have been published and are tender meditations, filled with love, memory, vulnerability, and the melancholy of ageing.

As one of the best writers of contemporary drama it may come as a surprise that he felt he was an outsider in a closed club and so was unsure about putting his poems out to the public. As he described it: “In writing poetry I was climbing through the off-street window of a club of which I am not a member.”  What a pleasure to find that like him, many of us are climbing in the same window reaching for poetry as a means to express both pain and joy, anger and love during tough times.

From Twitter haikus to Open Age’s Lockdown Poetry, the pandemic has seen people reaching for poetry in new and creative ways. The poet Emma Risbridger thinks that 'Maybe in a crisis people are less inclined to worry about [a] kind of self-consciousness. The need for human connection – which is what poetry is, really – overrides the fear.’

And then there is spoken word, an even freer oral form of poetry storytelling. Its performance art. According to the Poetry Foundation spoken word is poetry intended for performance. give a few tips here if you want to try out your pen and have a go:

If you have ever watched slam poetry or a dramatic monologue at an open mic night, the intense, emotional delivery of spoken word may have stayed with you long after it was over. The has been the effect for me after watching Tender Gaze by the arts collective Murmuration performed last week in the stunning Hull Minster. The puppets enacted the story in silence while the poetry and spoken word was a powerful connection to the audience:  a cry of loneliness and voices unheard in Tortoise by Lyn Chapman continued by a cry of liberation in Yes by Fiona Parker.

If you are poetically curious, interested in writing poetry and sharing your poetry, I’d love to hear from you.

If you have a story to tell where poetry has helped you find your voice or help make sense of challenging times and would also like to share this, please do get in touch. Until then, I invite you to enjoy the two poems below:



By Lyn Chapman


Nobody ever listened to little old me

They certainly never took me seriously

I kept it all hidden, the real me.


I would retreat into my shell

Safe and secure,

Hidden from sight


Pop my head out now and again

Then afraid, retreat back in again.


All alone, nobody cared

I felt safe in my own little world

hiding in my shell,


Till one day I heard about a saviour of the world.

He looked upon me….

Noticed me…

Led me out into the light….

Held my hand tight


And to my amazement, people listened

And wanted to hear what I had to say.


I have a voice.

I am valued.

I belong


I don’t have to impress them, just have to be me

He removed the shell and set me free




by Fiona Parker


I’m weighed down by the weight

Of too many yes’s.

Too many good intentions

And sudden enthusiasms.

Too many times of pleasing

And just wanting to ease

The weight off others.

Finding it easier to sway and bend

And lend my energies

To things that seem

More pressing, more important,

More justifiable

Than what’s really in me.

What’s really there

Beneath the layers

Of yes after yes after yes…

The rise and fall of a deeper call.

The life force

The God voice

That so often just says “be.”

“Just be. Be here. Be now.


And let that be your YES

Let your life be your YES.

Let the yes’s of yesterday, today and tomorrow


And either fall away

Or find their flow

In a greater wholeness

A greater Oneness.

Where there’s grace

For misplaced yes’s

And freedom to run

Into the living YES

The now YES

The light-as-a-feather




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Date published

23rd December 2021

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