Monthly Archives: August 2015

Healing Words 14-15

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The successful Healing Words project continued in 2014/15 with workshops delivered to participants on Talygarn Ward, County Hospital, young people at the Serennu Children’s Centre, Hafal (Newport) and women supported by the Sanctuary Project at Bethel Church, who are resident in Newport after seeking asylum in the UK.

The Healing Words project uses creative writing and art as a tool for positive mental health and well-being and is a partnership between Gwent Arts in Health, Literature Wales,  Newport Live Community Arts and Torfaen CBC and works with a diverse range of groups across the greater Gwent area.

As part of the Healing Words project celebrated poet Patrick Jones delivered workshops on the acute mental health ward at Talygarn, Pontypool and performed to people on the Dementia unit at St Woolos Hospital, Newport; scriptwriter, singer and film maker, Ndidi Spencer worked with young people on the autistic spectrum to create short drama pieces exploring stories,  writer clare e. potter and artist Catherine Lewis worked with women from the Sanctuary project at Bethel Church Newport to produce their words and textiles.

Women from the Sanctuary project performed and exhibited their work as part of the South Wales Literature Senedd Showcase event in June 2015. Work from the Sanctuary group was also displayed as an independent show at The Project Space in Newport from 12th  until 30th August 2015.

Please find examples of poems below:

Writing with Spices

When I think of you

I remember red,

red like a bell pepper,

I remember the taste of the food

that my mum used to make

to keep us healthy.

I remember all the chat and laughter

and fun around the table with family.

I remember everything from my childhood

the crowdy and noisy village market

Where I could smell you and all other things.

My Favourite Smell

I like the smell of a new book: it opens

new experiences, new adventure, new romance

new thrills. Every little feeling that was hidden

in myself, I discover one by one.

By Rakhi


I love the smell after the rain

from the wet earth

from the wet grass

from the flowers

from the leaves

when you suddenly get some air

when there is no wind

that wild shoda smell

more than once, over and over and over.

By Rakhi

Lime Medicine

A squeeze of lime and gin

to treat a headache, also used for dieting

I remember my father

mixing it, lime and gin when we fell ill

By Joy

Nice Aroma

The beautiful fresh (natural) smell

of mixed spices, sweet and beautiful

reminds me of my granny, my childhood

musky, vanilla, strawberry, the confidence

of no preservatives, additives or artificial

food colours.

By Margaret


I carry the bag

given to me

as a gift, love.

It is full of missing,

It is full of old memories.

Being Desperate

is like being surrounded

by black.

Always look where the shine

comes from:

family, friends, cinta.

By Jenny


A longing,

My family, friends, everything,

a longing for comfort

missing happiness;

it is a grief,

even deep grief,

a clenched fist.

Efforts for a better future, efforts, efforts.

Always, there is hope.

By Madelaine, Nectar, Jenny, Chioma,  Ishraqa, and Samina


Thank you for everything.

God, Jesus, Allah.

Our house, our living, our life,

our safety, protection, friendship,

peace, the air we breathe,

the water we drink.

We are healthy.

Thank you for that.

By Ishraka, Jenny, Chioma, Samina, Nectar, and Madelaine


Open mind

Open heart

Not lying



Be truth



Open door

Open mouth


Open hands;

Lovely open heart.

By Nectar, Samina, Chioma, Ishraka, Jenny, and Madelaine

Ebere (Mercy)







I bury bitterness

bury hate.

I’d bury untruthfulness, lies


Show courage.

Lord have mercy on us.

By Chioma, Ishraka, Madelaine, Samina, Nectar, and Jenny

Peace.  House.  Faith

Peace in my house.

I have peace and faith in my house.

Peace comes into my house.

Faith comes into my house.

Peace and faith dwell in my house.

My house loves peace and faith.

My peace, faith and my house.

Floating away on the sea,

my depth is full

look deeper, look out

Oh my,  joy and air, breeze.

By Mary

Step up, step up

higher in to the sky

bright and beautiful

but with contracting light.

Oh gracious you, near me

now be bold. My friends

and I are together, joy is busting up.

Come, come, let’s be happy together.

We all need each other. I call you

all now, higher and higher. Express

yourself. Let’s do things in Oneness.

I challenge you to have more things to do!

By Mary


Everything you want to get

you have to pay out with effort

and then you will have it. If

everything you cherish is worthy.

Who knows what will come tomorrow

if you don’t do something now, you can’t

do anything in the future. You have

to cherish now. Today is present.

By Ling


I feel the sunset and the darkness

a voice comes up:

don’t worry, it’s safe in the darkness

    when you are brave. The darkness

    will go soon.

The voice, new hope, the sun comes again.



The sun is rising. The city

starts to be bright, gold.

The grass is standing up

and the flower is smiling.

Different people have different

feelings for the new day.

 By Ling



A woman uses her body

to tell her story

and brings the house down

By Ling


Listening to Music

When I hear the sound float,

I feel I am standing on a mountain top.

I was closing my eyes. I could see

everywhere. Green. I can feel

the nature. I want to laugh and laugh and laugh.

I don’t want to open my eyes again.

By Sithy


Be You Happy

Life is much better if you let her

continue without something

stopping you being happy.

Don’t walk by the wall, all the time

don’t be scared and stay in the dark,

it is supposed to be that you come out

and make your life happy.

Make your life shining and relaxing

or dance like the flow, move

with the weather,  just forget

everything in the past and carry on.

Let happy smiles fill the house

in every corner.

By Braa Elmahadi

Newbridge Inclusion Centre


Rap Project with Rufus Mufasa and Patrick Jones

Working with 8 young people (ages 13-16) at Newbridge Inclusion Centre, poet Patrick Jones and rapper Rufus Mufasa created a series of rap and spoken word compositions over a period of just six weeks.

The centre is a specialist educational facility provided for students with a history of challenging behaviour in the classroom; not just at Newbridge, but all schools in Caerphilly County Borough. The young people are mentored and encouraged by a group of committed teachers and staff, including Deputy Head Tony Gallagher. Himself an actor and performer with a passion for script-writing, Tony Gallagher is keen to encourage creative activities for the students of the centre, to improve their aspiration, confidence and learning skills.

“I Am Special as a Diamond that Shines Bright like the Universe”

The young people’s words – link below – were recorded and put to a beat by Rufus Mufasa and Jamey Peace, before being shared at a presentation ceremony at Newbridge School in July 2015.

Here’s a sneak-peak of the lyrics:

“Boxing in the ring

Makes me want to sing

I’m going to be the champion

I’m going to be the king.”

“I’m too good for this game

I’m like a special star

Shining in the sky

Not so far

I’m far off like lightning

Everyday I’m so frightening

I’m one thing; I’m exciting”

“My name is Jack

And I am a sprat

And everybody says I look like that

Is a skunk; is a punk,

Is a dirty little one

Look at him standing there

[…] Two feet tall

Look at this one-inch wonder

Looks like a sign of thunder…”

“I am all that I wish for

Winning the lottery

Dad coming home

Getting on well with my brother.”

Short Story Masterclass

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Ioan Kidd, winner of Wales Book of the Year 2014, led two session masterclass on the short story in Pontardawe Library. The long-running Pontardawe Book Club has been a literary fixture in the life of Pontardawe, but this is the first time the group has participated in a creative writing workshop.

Ioan Kidd shared the process of writing and publishing his award-winning novel, Dewis (‘Choice’) with the group, before going on to compare the styles and skills necessary to write shorter fiction, as in his previous collection ‘O cyrion’. Sharing insights into the art of fiction, Ioan Kidd inspired the class to turn their hand to some creative writing themselves. With some advice from the author, members wrote the opening to their own short story:

One of the members, Ann Rosser, said: “[The workshops] were a very valuable experience…to hear about the process of creating a novel and the work that went behind it was an inspiration to us all.”


Creative Writing for Welsh Learners

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Together with Torfaen Arts Development and Coleg Gwent Pontypool, a group of adult Welsh learners broke free of grammar books, textbooks, and vocab tests for a month. Instead, they had the chance to write in Welsh for fun. The poet and Bardd Plant Aneirin Karadog and novelist Gwennan Evans led two workshops each – one focusing on rhymes and rhythm, the other on prose and storytelling. It was an opportunity to break free from the usual strictures of language learning and use what they had learnt in new and imaginative ways.

Mair Turner of Coleg Gwent said: “Our learners succeeded in creating some great stuff!”

Here’s a taster:

Un peth cwl am Bontypwl

Coleg Gwent wrth gwrs

Cartref adran iaith y nefoed

Calonogi pawb i gynnal sgwrs

Ac yn yr Haf dwy fil a phymtheg oedd

Ffynnon o Gymraeg farddonol.

Place & Storytelling


Poet, performer and script-writer Emily Hinshelwood led a whole day workshop with 18 young people at Cwmtawe Community School on their last day of term 2015. The students, who were selected on the grounds of their interest in creative writing (many of them members of the school’s regular Creative Writing Club), ranged from 12-14 years of age. They donned boots and anoraks, clutched clipboards, and pocketed their imagination for a fiction-infused walk.

With encouragement and guidance from Emily, the young people devised their own characters in the classroom, before taking their characters with them on the tour through fields and gardens near the school. The idea was to put themselves in their character’s shoes, and to see the details of the natural world through their eyes.

Back in the classroom, the atmosphere was one of intense concentration as they penned their impressions. They all left the classroom with the beginning of a story, ready to grow and develop during the summer. Here are some examples of their work:

The clouds gathered in the clear blue sky and the world started to turn cold, almost eerie. The happiness drained out of me like I was emptied by a plug. I started to shiver in the cold water and felt scared and worried. A bead of sweat trickled down my face. By Isabelle Lake

Hell. What a place! Happy devils, horrified humans and also my favourite – the pits of despair with its orange glow. Looking at it is painful to the eyes, humans find it horrifying. I find it mesmerising. It could burn down everything into nothing in seconds, because it is so scorching. Anon

It was a hot, humid summer morning as I set off for school. I smiled happily as I looked down at the drying up puddles. My aqua blue trainers splashed into the puddles disrupting the calm surface. Birds chirped in the swaying trees. I stepped by one puddle next to an uprooted oak tree. I stared meekly at my reflection. My sky blue eyes were filled with hope. My black hair swayed in the breeze. I pulled up the hood of my jet black hoody and strolled towards school. By Ciaran Sullivan (Aged 13)

He plunged his knife into the man’s stomach, trying to preserve this beautiful expansion. He looked up from the dead man to the villagers from where he lived staring back at him. Before they or he himself could react, he raced back into the foliage, his scarred-face friend was by him as well, running. Ajay Bater (Aged 13)

I came to the UK in 1995. When I came I learnt from my father how to pickpocket and steal. My name is Simon and I have black hair, blue eyes and I am a thief. My father was arrested two days ago but I escaped. Usually in the morning I will steal bread. As I was going out of the store I saw a big brown satchel on someone’s back. So I slowly unzipped the bag and stole an iPhone 6. I did it so I started running and as I ran I realised there’s someone after me. So a few hours with the bread I stoke I tried to unlock the iPhone 6 in the wet, bug-infested bush. As I did this I fell asleep: I woke to a voice. It’s my dad on a motorbike. My dad told me to get on and go, so I listened. As I did this I realised that I was in the forest, but I soon realised that I was in a peaceful forest. But this was not my dad. He put a sock on my head and said he’s taking me somewhere. Anon.

I first went out for a walk to calm me down, but it led to a tragedy. Let me tell you about it. I started to walk along the canal. I could hear the birds tweeting and lots of loud construction noises. I came across a big, bright, tall yellow flower. Around it was tall spiky green grass, just on it’s own, no other flowers surrounding it. I was about to pick a flower but something caught my eye in the tall grass. A big black duffle bag. I thought to myself, “should I be nosy and look at it?” I looked around. No one was near me. “Why not?” I thought. I picked up the duffel bag. It was heavy. I brought it over to a private area. I tried to open it. Inside was a big amount of money. At least 100,000 pounds, probably more. Harry Thyer (Aged 13)

That same day the buff man who was named ‘The Tiger’ due to his bright orange hair; made me go out with him to the gorge. He wore a tracksuit and some kind of belt with electronics on it. I had to sprint a hundred meters. I did it in 14 seconds. ‘The Tiger’ said that if I wanted to compete in the Olympics my time had to improve. By Jaden Maskell-Beynon (Aged 12)

I raced across the path as fast as my legs could carry me. All I could hear was my own beating heart screaming at me to stop. By Jorja Mould

I arrived home after school only to be greeted by rubble, dust and destruction. I gasped in horror as I saw my house in pieces on the floor. While looking around I noticed I couldn’t find my parents anywhere. Letting out a sigh I pulled my waist length, jet black hair into a pony tail. I looked into part of a mirror and started talking to myself, “Why am I so different from everybody else, like I have bright purple eyes, sharp teeth, I hate being Inside and my parents – I said I had a different connection with a nature.” By Heather Brown (Aged 12)

Another flashback from the time she’d met her master. “That was two months ago and I’m falling deeper in love with him,” she thought, turning scarlet. Gwen now wore a simple red maid’s dress; a tartan cardigan and knee-high boots. Her hair was now down to her shoulders. She enjoyed serving Roderick as a maid. She saw flowers blooming at her side. She felt calm. “Tranquillity and peace. These are the emotions I feel when I’m with Roderick,” she thought, smiling and a blush still visible on her cheeks. She then brushed her beautiful, flowing brown hair. Emily Jenkins (Aged 13)

Everything was my brother’s fault. He wrecked everything. I remember every little detail. I just couldn’t get this image out of my head. “I wonder if I’ll survive this,” I muttered to myself. I happened to glance to my left. I noticed people playing team sports. I could hear the distinct tweets. The birds were singing. The smell of flowers in the mystical field. The taste of honey stung me like a wasp. I could feel something furry next to my leg. It appeared to be a little badge. I must’ve acted immediately, because the next thing I remembered was the badger in my arms. Lucy Richards (Aged 12)

I was sitting on a large old bench drowning in thick layers of moss and mould. I could hear the damp wooden legs creak in protest. The sound slicing like a knife through the deafening silence. I felt a leaf gently brush against my rosy cheek. I looked up to see a huge oak tree towering over me, its branches swaying in the wind like arms. By Carys Williams (Aged 12)

Darkness. That was all she could see. Tina flocked her long black hair as she walked down the path. She felt like the path was leading her nowhere. Then she heard the river, rushing through, which made her afraid that something was going to happen. She suddenly looked in the river at her reflection. Her blue streak in her hair was fading away. Tina’s sea blue eyes were glistening by the moon’s brightness. Katie Jenkins (Aged 12)

As I sprinted down the road, I came to a russet brown, dusty, dirt pathway. The orchard and meadow rye grass swayed as the gentle sea breeze swept across the endless fields. Looming willow and moss-coloured ash trees cast shadows, making my skin shudder as I strode through the cooling shade. The soft trickle of the river beckoned me, tempting me to run my fingers through the shimmering water, like soft silky hair. By Chantale Davies. (Aged 13)

After throwing the witness’s body into the incinerator, Amethyst turned around to see something shocking. Senpai was standing right behind her. “What the hell are you doing?” asked Senpai. “Wait!” replied Amethyst. “It’s not what it looks like!” Without hesitation, she stabbed Senpai with the syringe and dragged him to his classroom when no one was looking. “It was all a dream,” said Amethyst. “Just a dream.” Oliver Jones (Aged 13)

It was a bright vibrant day after the rain storm the other day. When Mike was walking through the Archwood forest where he would walk every day. He would always notice that there were no animals in the forest or even bird song but when he thought he saw an animals he wouldn’t’[t be able to find it a second later which he would be quite used to so he would just be carrying on walking. The next day he found something very exciting, he found a large dog or cat print but it had three toes which was quite odd. “Yo, Mike!” yelled a voice in the distance. “Oh, hi Brad, how did you know I’d be here?” “You’re always out here! Anyway what are you looking at?” “Oh, it’s a paw print.” Anon

One day I walked into a wood. I saw loads of trees, flowers, spiky flowers, people and butterflies. Then I heard an alarm go. I was scared and I did not know what to do. Suddenly I fell down as if I’d landed in the woods. I could heard screaming and people were shouting E-M-I-L-Y. What? Who’s there? And how do you know my name? I am a ghost. I know everybody’s name including yours, which is Emily. Then she went off dancing and then someone pulled Emily back into the woods and she let go of the ghost and then she fall back into the grass. She found a little puppy. They lived happily ever after. The end. Rachel Harris (Aged 12)

Alun Lewis Centenary Projects

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As part of the centenary celebrations for Alun Lewis, Patrick Jones and Rufus Mufasa led two cross artform workshops inspired by the work of the celebrated poet.

Born on 1 July 1915 in Cwmaman, Alun Lewis became the foremost  poet and prose writer of the Second World War.. Rooted in the South Wales valleys from his childhood to his later profession as teacher in Lewis School, Caerphilly, Lewis went on to travel the world during his military service in India and Burma during the Second World War. These experiences profoundly shaped his work, leading to his reputation as a great war writer of his time. He died during active service in 1944 at the age of 28.

Pupils at Lewis school and Cowbridge Comprehensive school explored Alun Lewis’ poetry and created their own pieces in response to his work – poetry from Cowbridge and musical pieces from Lewis school.

Please see below:

Rubble’s Toy (by Will and Jack)

There has always been rubble,

But it was far, far away;

In disastrous war and famine

And never, ever here.

0605 was caught in the rubble,

A victim of the blitz;

The factory lost a corner to bombing,

And a victim who never belonged.

0606 was caught in the rubble,

He fell for money not recovered,

His tourist owner fled from Sharm el Sheik,

Imperialist, futile conflict.

0607 was caught in the rubble,

He was with a unlikely family,

Although they could leave by car,

A swerve hit something potent.

0608 was caught in the rubble,

With a merchant ship carrying aids,

Mistaken for a battle ship floating adrift,

Bobbing softly through the orange waves.

0609 was caught in the rubble,

Nearly out of the danger zone;

A soldiers momento shot down at the last,

As the plane left the barran dessert.

0610 was not caught in the rubble,

That toy is here to tell;

His colour and past will decay unless

Another war comes today.

Holster (by Pheobe, Holly and Louis)

Close to your body,

You feel my deathly power,

Hidden behind the leather, old and decaying,

Hides my bloody trigger.

The war following at your waist

Waiting to take another life,

Every life, another drop of blood to fill me

Until your hands turn red.

The leather of my casing

Can’t hide what fate will come

The impure fashion clothes my poison

My skin too, bites the dust.

Sophisticated, slender, shiny, slade

Bullets, beautiful bullets

Hidden within my pouch

The weapon of the weapon

The war that holds us.

A lonely feather (by Callum, Ethan, Owen)

Elegant dancer

In the limitless sky

Even clouds fight for freedom

We are losing lives.

No escaping this powerfulness

Fixation on feathers, wishing weightlessness,

A loner, lack of floppiness

No worries or aspirations to adhere to

No devilish hoops to jump through

What seems to be absolute freedom

Leads to arrogance of men

Superiority and prowess

Doesn’t lead to absolute freedom

The politicians dream of.

Everlasting Flame  (by Locklan)

Earth to earth, bright light I beg for guidance,

Empty, alone, my spirit stands still, left with no horizons.

We’ve not got long for you shall melt soon,

As your tranquillity shall fade, and me just left with truth.

Ashes to ashes, I can’t help see, you are fading fast,

I can’t change your future, nor you, change my past.

For guidance, to me, you have left me none,

But your destined demise, has just begun.

Dust to dust, oh Lord above, help me see,

That the sorrow of mine was from memory.

You took my future from my past,

And laid it to rest for me, at last.

Your wax drowned out the fuse to your flame,

As if this was just a large sadistic game.

Up this late, through my eyes drowned in tears, I find,

Your flickering light was playing tricks on my tired mind.

Though stronger in forces, your tricks still riddled me,

But then again following your demise, I foresaw peace.

Before, your texture, was smooth as silk,

But now your texture is runny as milk.

I shall never forget the mind tricks that you played on me

And yet you still reminded me of my barren memory.

And given, yes, it was hard to handle,

The torturous trials of the malevolent candle.

Time (by Molly, Lilly, Jess)

Never stops, keeps going

Always ticking

Away in the background.

Counting down, bringing reality

Seconds minutes hours days

When will it end?


A reminder of the bombs

9/11, 7/7

Dates times people

Hanging over, intimidation, interegation, accusation

Long time no see

The past

Checking, counting the hours

Minutes seconds- lifetime.

Time leads. Years get shorter

Hyperactive, controlling, rush


Never sleeps, never dreams

Stress, no choice, job to dp

Tick Tock

Will it stop?

Ending lives

Extra time to fight

Guns go off at night

No origin story

Evolves, developed

Time makes war.

War takes


Group piece.

Red trenches

Sad wire

Angry tank

Bloody leader.

Hellish battlegrounds

Dark attacks

Empty bodies

Dramatized gas.

Scarred sergeants

Blurry death

Sacrificial anger

Lifeless terrorists.

Everlasting war

Malicious borders

Futile tears

Pathetic politicians.

Young Travellers’ Stories


Following a month of song-writing with EU Roma children in Newport, rapper and poet Rufus Mufasa went on to work with a small group of Welsh travellers based in West Monmouth School, Pontypool. Although it is currently traveling season, and many of the young people are on the move with their families, six boys and girls aged 14-16 took part in three creative writing workshops as part of Torfaen Youth Forum’s Gypsy and Traveller programme. The focus was on telling their story and narrating their cultural and family history as part of a long-term book project.

Rufus began with asking the young people about their likes and dislikes; the things which they are passionate about. Animals featured heavily in their writing, including pet hawks, donkeys, ponies, dogs and chickens. The outdoors and green landscape up the road from West Mon set the stage for favourite hobbies such as running and going on the pony and trap; and the difference between a caravan and a trailer; a gypsy and a gorger (non-traveller).

Rufus went on to develop their words with the help of an animator; the short films will be published in the coming weeks.

An Equal Voice is a Gypsy and Traveler Youth project established in 2010 between Torfaen Youth Forum and West Monmouth School. West Mon has 35 gypsy travelers attending and the group offers support to help them integrate into the school and into post 16 education; it offers a specialist classroom with additional support for the young people, making it more likely that these students will leave school with qualifications.