Starry Starry Night – our Vincent Van Gogh tribute

Last week, we looked at the life and art of Vincent Van Gogh. Although he led a troubled life and didn’t become well-known in his own lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh is now one of the world’s most well-known and well loved artists.

The patients and staff really warmed to the task of describing and imagining what was happening in various Van Gogh paintings, and I hope you enjoy our poems.

Irises-Vincent_van_Gogh

Irises

 

Irises

It makes me think of cows
– I do like that one,
The shoots going down,
The blue flowers blend in with the leaves.
Nice colours. The natural shape of the leaves.

The colours and shapes,
White ones contrast.
Irises intertwined.
You can see the brush strokes,
Trying to paint the soil.
Well balanced.

The blue – like pansies,
Makes me feel calm and warm,
Like I’m in a summer meadow.

Le_café_de_nuit_(The_Night_Café)_by_Vincent_van_Gogh.jpeg.jpeg

The Night Café

 

The Night Café

It’s deserted
They’re not spending any money.
Nobody’s drunk yet.
A billiard table in the middle.
I can only drink ten pints of beer a year,
Maybe I’ll have a coffee.

I’ll have to have a crack at painting.
It’s inspiring.
Skilled at drawing
– I like the flooring.
All the bottles.
Mis-matched chairs, table worn out.

The colours make it warm and inviting.
The shadow on the floor.
Do the lights fit in?
The colours are right.
Mismatched gas lamps glowing.
That’s all they had at the time.

Wooden floors,
Chairs a bit iffy, you can soon clean them.
I think that’s a child, sat on a knee.
He’s got his head in his hands.
There’s a clock on the wall, empty glasses,
Half past twelve at night.
Probably when they go every night.
You’re welcome and not welcome.
It depends who you are and what you’re doing.
All day café, drinking horrible coffees.
Closing time.

The Night Café

Snooker Table
A drink of beer
I think they’re playing pool or billiards.
Harp lamps hanging down.
Big vase of white flowers glows at the back.
Wooden floor; a very high ceiling.
The chairs hanging down with the lamps.
The clock showing ten past twelve.
A happy couple in the far corner.
The waiter in his short white jacket
Starts to tidy up.

 

Wheatfield with crows

Wheatfield with Crows

 

Wheatfield with Crows

I like the yellow colour.
It’s summertime.
A railway track not much used,
So it doesn’t disturb the birds.
Where are the birds flying to?
Someone’s set fire to it.
Crows in a wheat field.
It’s nothing special,
But there’s a lot going on.
Disturbance.
It’s quite frightening.
Blue and black sky.
The white part looks like North Africa
It’s as good as any other.
I can see what’s there.

 

flowering orchards

View of Arles, Flowering Orchards

Flowering Orchards

The disturbing dark vertical poplar
Contrasts with the green, fresh plants.
The mass of the flowers,
An allotment where tall-stemmed plants grow.
The sharpness of the poplar,
The strip of greenness – spring onions.
The white bits, like hundreds of pictures of
The same scene on a camera.

The man digging has too much to do.
Bright spring sunshine – it’s still cold.
The breeze can still cut to the quick.
It’s a working area.
The railway line cuts it off from the town.

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Our truth about love

Last week at Newholme, Walton and Cavendish hospitals, we belatedly discussed Valentine’s Day. But it’s never too late to talk about love. Love can be a tricky subject for older patients, who may have suffered bereavement. But for some people, it’s a chance to revive cherished memories of a life-long partner.

Some patients have partners who lovingly visit them, and sending and receiving Valentine’s cards is really important in keeping the love alive, despite difficult times. These poems represent romantic stories and recollections of younger days. I hope you enjoy them.

older love

The beauty of loving someone for life.

Our Truth About Love

He was in the army. He had curly hair.
They sent him to Christmas Island,
And when I came home from work,
There would be piles of letters from far away.

A few weeks later, I came home, and there he was.
Sitting with my parents,
And he’d already asked my dad for my hand.
Dad told him to look after me.
And he did. For over fifty years…

Getting ready for a date,
Running towards him in high heels.
Best dress on and red lippy,
To Dronfield Picture Palace.

Love means kindness and gentleness,
When you’d do anything for someone.
Love and kindness lead the way.
Families are loving and giving.
Sending and text message every day,
Even though they’re far away.
A phone call – coming to see me.

Love means a lot.

 

I can’t tell you anything about love

I can’t tell you anything about love,
All different kinds of love,
Family and friends.
It’s the same as it always is, being at home.

Having your family around you,
Home means love.

I knew that she was the one,
And we’re still in love,
Still giving each other cards.

But I’d prefer a cake,
Or some chocolates…
I love you and I see you.
You’re lovely!

Some Enchanted Evening,
And romance lingers in the air.

 

A long time ago

It was donkey’s years ago.
Was it true love at first sight or on the rebound?

We were too close to send love letters.
Working together at Masson Mill.
You got used to the noise.
We didn’t make a big fuss on Valentine’s Day
– Rock ‘n’ Roll dancing in a suit and tie,
And I got married in my winklepickers.

A long time ago,
I went to dances in Edale.
I’ve always liked dancing.
Waltz and quickstep
Foxtrot and tango
Military two-step and barn dances.
I loved them all.

Celebrating pancake day

This week in Derbyshire hospitals, we’ve been making and eating pancakes, and thinking about Shrove Tuesday traditions around the world. From our own tradition of using up all the rich foods in the house by making pancakes and eating as many as we can, to the exotic celebrations of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio. The three hospitals I visit, in Chesterfield, Buxton and Bakewell, had very different pancake preferences, and we’ve written three very different poems together.

classic-pancakes

Pancakes with classic lemon and sugar

Pancake Day

A thick pancake with a ladleful of stew
That’s me done, I don’t know about you!
Or mop it up with a dollop of gravy
Or meatballs to make it really savoury

I don’t like pancakes – bad for my tummy
Even though most people find them yummy!
But Yorkshire puddings with sugar and jam
Suit me just fine with a slice of ham.

People queue up to eat them through my garden gate
We used to bake, but now some just cook and shake.
We take pride and make ours from scratch
Oh, what a lovely big beautiful batch!

Sprinkle on sugar and squeeze on lemon juice
Or blackcurrent jam, or chocolate mousse
Nutella and ice cream, rolled up hot
Golden syrup spooned all over the top!

Yum, yum yum!

Lent

It’s pancake day – use up all your rich food
Lent should be a time to do things that are good.
For forty days and forty nights, we fight our greed
We think of others who are in need
(and try to give up drinking mead!)

Visit a lonely neighbour to cheer them up
Keep her company and tea to sup
Volunteer at a charity shop,
Helping out with a brush and mop

Some give up chocolate, some cake
Some might give up sausage and steak
Some give up Facebook, some give up the phone
Try to be positive – stop having a moan!

Give up chips and lose off your hips!
Because soon it’s Easter – and chocolate will be passing our lips!

Pancakes

Ooh! Tastes lovely!
It was alright.
She knows how to mix the batter –
I’ll eat at least half a dozen
Very nice –
Delicious with lemon and sugar
Sweet and tart
Sharp smell
Yummy and scrummy
Excellent and lovely.
Eggs for creation,
Flour – the staff of life,
Milk for purity.
A pinch of salt for wholesomeness
And maple syrup.
We’re not mardy,
But full of gras,
Because we’ll always have a “Ha Ha!”

Wildlife In Winter

Last week, we thought about wildlife in the UK and around the world, and looked at photos of some of our favourite animals as inspiration for this poem, which was started by patients and staff at Walton Hospital in Chesterfield, continued at Cavendish Hospital in Buxton, and completed by patients at Newholme Hospital in Bakewell and their visitors. The weather outside gave us some inspiration too. On Tuesday afternoon particularly, it was sunny, followed by hail and torrential rain in the space of just a few minutes!

Fox in winter

A fox walking on an icy pond.

Wildlife Wonders

There’s a seagull bullying me, stealing my chips!
But my bird table is laid with fat balls and sunflower seeds.
Ducks swimming in the lake and taking a dip
Children giving them bread, the birds eagerly feed.

The spiky hedgehog helps us by eating slugs
We need to do them a good turn to help them to thrive
A hedgehog ramp in the pond. To eat, plenty of bugs,
A bowl of cat food left outside will help them stay alive.

The hooting owl gives us a fright
Out on the hunt for mice and voles
He’s feeding his family through the night
He spies them from high on the telegraph pole.

The robin with his jacket of red
Pretty and with a cheerful song.
He seems to greet us with a bob of his head
And visits the garden all year long.

When the hail bounces down,
The birds dash for cover
The rain’s so heavy, we might drown
Shivering like a plover.

Now the sun’s shining bright
And I am quite confused
It’s too windy to fly a kite
Or look at country views.

plover

A plover – in case you were wondering!

A Celebration of all things Scottish – a Belated Burns’ Night Celebration

Last week, I was unable to update this blog due to a computer malfunction, so here it is! Patients and staff in Derbyshire hospitals looked at the traditions of Burns’ night – a celebration of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.

We celebrated all things Scottish, from haggis to tartan, and here are the poems that we came up with.

A Celebration of Scotland

As we sit here eating shortbread
We’ve been listening to Rabbie Burns’ poems
Haggis, neeps and tatties,
The mountains and heather that Scots call home.

Porage* oats to make you strong
With some salt sprinkled on.
Made with water if you can’t afford milk
To keep warm from Scottish rain pouring down.

Tartan outfits worn with pride
The Queen in her favourite Balmoral home
Queen Mother lived in a Scottish Castle
Where the Monarch of the Glen does roam.

William Wallace, Braveheart Warrior
To John Brown, Queen Victoria’s favourite
Played by Scotland’s own Billy Connolly
In a kilt and Highland garb

Lots of actors from north of the border
From Will Fyfe to Ewan McGregor
Sean Connery, the first James Bond
To Robbie Contrane, our Scottish sleuth.

scots keep us entertained
Lulu, Annie Lennox, lovely Lorraine Kelly
The stories of Robert Louis Stevenson

And without Alexander Graham Bell,
We couldn’t chat on the telephone.
We wouldn’t have TV without John Logie Baird!

The land of Robert the Bruce –
We’ve got a lot to thank you for!

* Yes, that’s the way that Scott’s have been spelling their famous oats for many years!

scotts-oats

A Weekend in Scotland

Iron Bru – I love you
A tot of finest whiskey too
All-butter shortbread, petticoat tails
In a winter blowing snow and gales.

Men in skirts – they call them kilts
We love how your accent lilts
The colours a sounds of Edinburgh tattoo
Stroll around a loch to find Nessie too.

But that bag piper’s driving me mad
And the midges itch me something bad!
No thanks to that haggis, it sounds offal!
Deep fried pizza and Mars bars must be awful!

But with the wonderful wildlife and scenery too
We’ll still be coming and visiting you.

Scottish Wildlife

I searched for Nessie in a loch
I saw Canada Geese in a flock
The beavers had built their dams
Surrounded by leaping spring lambs.

I walked my Westie on a lead
Watched red squirrels as they feed
As Flora and Morag the Highland cattle
Watch red deer stage fight their battle!