Postcard Poems

Last week on my visits to Derbyshire Hospitals, we cheered ourselves up by thinking about postcards and holidays. We looked at the history of postcards, and thought about who we’d most like to send a postcard to, and where from. The patients also got a chance to close their eyes and be taken on a journey to a beach with golden sands for a spot of sunbathing. We almost succeeded in convincing ourselves we were somewhere warmer, but when we opened our eyes, we were in Buxton, and it was snowing!

Greetings from Blackpool

Greetings from Blackpool!

A postcard from the seaside

These days,
I prefer to pick the phone up than send a postcard.
I’d rather see my friends and family in person.
I’d like to send a postcard to my sister.
I’d like to be back home,
Appreciating being at home,
A place to relax.

It would be great to be on a beach in Australia.
Somewhere warm –
Failing that, the beach in Skeggy
Any time of year, even winter
Wrapped up against the wind.

In the old days, we’d go on holiday on the bus
On the steam train to Skegness or Cleethorpes
You can see more on a coach – an exciting journey!
Looking out to see the sea for the first time.
Everything changes as you get closer
Buckets and spades outside shops, seagulls overhead.

Collecting shells on the beach,
Crabbing lines baited with fish eggs,
Candyfloss getting stuck to your nose.
Knitted swimming costumes
Ice creams, mushy peas and cockles
Fish and chips and shrimps.
Tucking your dress into your knickers to paddle
Buying souvenirs – ashtrays and paperweight
Then going home with sandy feet.


A postcard with a palm tree view will make your colleagues jealous!

A postcard with a palm tree view will make your colleagues jealous!

Wish you were here

Wish you were here
Friends and family.
Wish you were here
Cliff Richard – ‘I wish I was there with you!’
Wish you were here
Next door neighbours,
Looking after our house and pets.

Wish you were here
A postcard to work – to show off!
‘I’m on a world cruise, going over the equator!
Just going over the Victoria Falls!’
Make them jealous with a palm tree view.

Send a postcard from Buxton:
‘I wish you were here – oops – you already are!’
Send a saucy postcard or a nice sea view,
A boring picture of a roundabout in Milton Keynes.
‘I’ve been captured by the Scousers in the Mersey Tunnel!’
Wish you were here! I’m glad you’re not.

If I could send a postcard from anywhere,
I’d like to go back to Hong Kong,
Where I lived for years, and felt at home.
Skiing in France,
Safari in Africa,
Honeymoon on Jersey –
Romance and candlelight
I wish I was there…

Somewhere with a nice view - like Matlock!

Somewhere with a nice view – like Matlock!

No cheeky postcards!

Those saucy postcards are beyond the pale…
I’d much prefer pictures of a nice view –
Mountains in Derbyshire:
Kinder Scout and the Pennines,
Scotland – camping holidays
No tacky seaside resorts for me.

“Beyond Hope” – a new term starts!

My work with Derbyshire County Council at Newholme Hospital has resumed, and I’ve also started working at Cavendish Hospital in Buxton, where I ran a couple of tasters in July. I’m continuing to work with patients, giving them stimulus through photographs, objects, words and music, and through that, an opportunity to reflect and talk about their experiences, places they’ve been, and things they’ve done.

Last week, we looked at Kinder Scout, and the more rugged aspects of the Peak District. Many of the patients knew the mountain well and had climbed it several times, even once with a cine heavy camera! I hope the film taken on that day still exists somewhere, waiting to be rediscovered as a testament to the effort it took to carry the camera. That’s what the project is about, and I hope that we can continue to rediscover and document forgotten voices and preserve memories, engaging with the patients and their creativity.

Here’s a sonnet I’ve written, compiling some of the interesting things we found out and discussed. I must say at this point for readers from further afield, that Hope is a very picturesque village, about seven miles from Edale, the starting point of the Pennine Way and the climb up Kinder Scout. Hope lends itself to puns, such as the song “She Lives in Hope” by John Shuttleworth, and “Beyond Hope” is one of the things that people say about Edale, a reference to its remote location!

Amazing rock sculptures at the top of Kinder Scout

Amazing rock sculptures at the top of Kinder Scout


“Beyond Hope”


I used to drag the dog and the wife up Kinder Scout.
I remember seeing the Downfall frozen in the winter;
The twisted shapes on their plinths along the high plateau,
As if a modern sculptor had been chipping away at the rock.

While millennia of rain, wind and snow carved the millstone grit.
Countless human hands piled rock after rock to make cairns,
Helping lost souls to find the paths in the fog and dark.
Now the Mountain Rescue braves the cruel elements, finding

Fools who don’t heed advice or warnings, or get caught
In fickle changes of the mountain weather, sun to storm
As the wind changes and graphite clouds gather above Edale
Although the valleys had been golden, setting off from Hayfield.

There are ghosts on the peat moors; a deadly mermaid lurks
In the tarn’s dark water, or she may give you eternal life.