Healing Words Newport


From August to November 2013 Literature Wales worked in partnership working in partnership with Gwent Arts in Health and Newport Library Services, to commission literature projects in Newport following the successful ‘Healing Words’ project in Blaenau Gwent in 2009.

The aims of the project were to run creative participatory poetry workshops and related arts activities that facilitated shared writing, with adults and young people accessing Mental Health Services from the communities of Newport.

Project activities involved writers and artists, working with groups in local libraries and other locations.. A visual artist was attached to the project and worked alongside the writer with the selected groups to produce visual imagery that reflects their work.  Related activities were also participatory, drawing on and enabling creative expression in a range of artistic media by the individuals involved in the project.

The outcomes of the project will be a series of poster poems, that will form local exhibitions in libraries, Newport healthcare settings and any other appropriate local venues.

The project enjoyed two celebratory events in October 2013, one on National Poetry Day (Thursday 3 October 2013)  in the Royal Gwent, another as part of  events around World Mental Health Day on October 10th, which the Library Service will be promoting as part of their ‘Get Libraries’ campaign. One of the Newport Library Service’s aims is to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of residents through opportunities to engage in learning and social activities and preventing ill-health. An event for all participants, poets and artists took place on  Wednesday 9th October as part of the Newport Comedy Festival.

The Baby


It’s crying time again

The hope for a new future

Three becoming four

Another knock at the door

Changing the nappy

To keep her happy

Other people’s children go back

But not this one

This one needs the confidence to learn to fly

So she will try

To leave the nest

And do her best

With red gums and 100 decibel screams

The nightmares in your dreams

Sleep a thing of the past

Make the one blink last

A smile that’s priceless

But you can’t cash it in

First few years they begin

Learning to walk and talk

Then the teacher’s shouts and chalk

Telling them to sit down

And what name do you choose?

Elvis for the Blues?

Then the news that it’s female

Tells a different tale

Lullabies and nursery rhymes

And those agonising times

When you step on toys

And the constant noise!

So we wish you luck for the next few years

And more smiles than tears…….


When I Leave Here


When I leave here

I don’t know where I’m going

But I’ll get there in the end

When I leave here

I want good news

The hope that I’m going somewhere else

Maybe home to cook

Or I’d like to walk barefoot through a stream

Walking and walking to be free

And those views I will see

When I leave here

I want to enjoy a strong cup of coffee

And hold someone’s hand

When I leave here

I don’t know what will happen

I’ll feed the imaginary dog or cat

Catch the mole in my lawn

And listen to perfect mood music

Finding the rhythm that’s in my feet

I’ll watch the belly

And tickle my tele

When I leave here

I want to leave something behind

Put on a cheery tee shirt

And watch Mexican wrestlers

I want to write the perfect poem

And, above all,

I want to be remembered


My Thoughts


In my thoughts are a family of panda’s

There’s starving people waiting for lunch

And the whole of London Zoo.

There’s Goldilocks the villain of the story,

Pinocchio and the oncoming football season.

In my thoughts is Milton Keynes

With the ups and downs of school

There’s a chick out of its nest

And a Frenchwoman wandering in a forest.

A snake is always falling

With a question of who put the Mc in Mcdonalds

There’s a poet

Who does know it

But won’t show it

There is life as a river

Flowing to the sea

And all who travel on her

Are vessels in the breeze

There’s an emptiness.

It’s great to have thoughts

And escape from reality

Thumbs Up For Becky

Becky sorry about your thumb

We heard it went numb

We hope it’s getting better

And this is our letter

You’re having no fun

And probably can’t run

To collect a sum (from National Accident Helpline)

Maybe a tot of rum

Will ease the pain

Don’t break it again

Cos we want you back

You won’t have the sack

Just a poem from us

So hop on the bus

And come back to number 47

For our lunchtime heaven!


Summertime…those lazy, crazy days

When you know the wasps will bother you

And follow you forever round beer gardens

A time of ice creams and 99’s with chocolate flakes off the van

Waiting for the tune of Mr Whippy, Mr Creemy or Mr Summer Delight


Those holidays and mosquitoes

In the car with the windows up

And the rain teeming down

To put the washing out or not to put it out

That is the question

Waiting three hours for a plane

Waiting six weeks with the kids

Lost luggage and lost youth

With the fragrance of fresh flowers


The Dawn Chorus

And the odd kitten or nine

Long days and long nights

Falling asleep when it’s still light

Shedding clothes and shredding salad

Shorts and sandals

Lettuce upon lettuce

Sunbathing and sunburn

Peeling skin and calamine

Seeking shade and aftersun

Skinny dipping and summer showers

Not waving but drowning

To the sounds of cricket willow


It comes, it goes

Like the rest of us


There’s the laughter and friendship

The name that means equal as we are

What’s in a name maybe it should be an Egyptian Princess

Maybe it is

There’s strength and vulnerability

Famous faces on walls

The ones who’ve been there and done it all

But still need support like the rest of us

It’s good to be in groups

With baked potatoes and cheese

And some change please

Makes me weak at the knees

We wanted to keep the pool table

They said we weren’t able

Now there’s no more cue

Where it is we’ve no clue

But there’s women knitting blankets

For a baby

And maybe

A bit of pampering with biscuits or nails

The Women’s Group never fails

I love coming to Hafal

Lots of cake to snaffle

Plus the biscuit tub

Aye there’s the rub

Getting together for a meal

It makes us feel

Positive and taking our time

Out of the house to relax

No more St Cadoc’s

There’s the day trips

The poetry, the art

So many activities

With staff on hand

The mutual support

Hafal’s not boring

No time for snoring

Never yawning

This is our morning

And remember

The cup is always half full!

The Search For Happiness


It’s doing what you want to do

It’s winning the Pools

Or taking up lion taming and surviving

I don’t like caving

You go there if you’re misbehaving

It’s getting your dole money on your Post Office card

It’s filling up three skips

And doing things with someone else

It’s that time with no stress in your day

And nothing goes wrong

Something new to do

Somewhere new to go

It’s a good film

Or a smile in your direction

Last time I was happy

I was in a nappy

Pushed in a pram

With sandwiches of jam

Now it’s smoking marijuana

And a bit of how’s your father

But too much grass

And you could fall on your…..and end up with arthritis


 Brief Thoughts On Early Mornings


In the early mornings

I sometimes think about two little lovebirds

Or about food and drink

I question whether I’ve taken my medication or not

In the mornings

I think about riding my mountain bike

And about inner tubes that will never puncture

I wonder how the day will turn out

Sometimes I try and recall my dreams

In the mornings

I think about whether my nephew will behave himself

I think about my children and moving house

And why are those dogs still barking

I think about all the things I have to do

All the things I want to get done

Sometimes in the mornings

I wonder if people believe in God

I try to keep stress at bay

And let the radio play

In the mornings

I do a lot of thinking

And then ease myself into the day….


Brief Thoughts On Newport

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

Tramps and people begging for money

See the neglected Newport Castle

The tiny remains that were once a proud brewery

And is now just a stumpy bit

It’s not Caerphilly or Caernarvon this is Newport

Come on down and see

The Red Wave, the Maritime Sculpture,

The Riverfront, the Leisure Centre

The empty shops and charity shops

The demise of the City Centre

A reminder of prosperity gone south and west and east

It’s out of town shopping that thrives

It’s liquidation or the promise of life to come

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

Where people swam off the transporter bridge

Now it’s just abseiling in the wind for charity

There’s Tredegar House and Park

There’s history sunk by reconstructed boats

Space age station alongside the old

Two era’s as uncomfortable neighbours

And hanging baskets as little gardens of hope

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

The chewing gum and cigarette butts carpet the floor

And more funny characters, cliquey characters in cultural isolation

Not always a ‘Hello’

There’s ignorance and confusion

Is Newport really Welsh?

Is it really a City?

Welcome to Newport

Come on down and see

The artist’s projections for the future

They keep on promising

But it will probably stay the same

Does anything really change?



Childhood Memories

Childhood the best days of your life

Bottles of milk in the infants sometimes warm in the sun

Conkers and marbles

Pressing the bell on the bus

Pretending it’s your stop

Parents struggling for money for day trips

Family outings in the countryside

Deckchairs in a field with a flask of tea

Barry Island, the beach, the Fair

Once even Blackpool

It was like Las Vegas with candyfloss

Steam trains and scrapped old engines

Donkey rides and falling off

Childhood the best days of your life

Playing rounders waiting for your turn to bat

Some days too tough to remember

Coming home from school and TV till tea

Excited by school trips and outings

Bullies and beatings

Burglaries and bracelets

Childhood the best days of your life

Then the summer holidays and out all day

Not wanted back till night time

And at home pocket money used to feed the meter

When black and white became colour

Turning knobs at the back of the set

Jumping off the walls at Dense Hill

Dens and parks, places to hide like Tarzan and Jane

The good old days of younger times

Childhood the best days of your life

Tadpoles in nets, catfish and newts

Marvel comics and pop delivered on Fridays

Going with dad to work

Plastic prams and teasets

Christmas searching the house for your presents

Opening selection boxes, eating chocolates

Then sealing them back up under the tree

Peas in the allotments, multicoloured pens leak into school uniforms

Using tights as stockings with tangerines, apple, orange and sweets

And chocolate, always chocolate

Dragged round to relatives you didn’t usually see

Aunts and uncles you never really knew

Creeping out of the woodwork

And telling you what to do

Childhood the best days of your life

I’ll let you decide