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