In June 2021, a group of NHS library staff dared to stretch our comfort zones a little wider by attending two poetry workshops delivered by Betty Doyle. The workshops were part of a pilot research project being conducted by MMU, exploring whether there was such thing as ‘poetry anxiety’ amongst health library staff. In just 4 hours (and in some cases 2!), we were transformed into poetry explorers, appreciators and creators.

To show our thanks (and just how far we had come), we wrote a collective thank you poem, drawing on a list poem activity Betty set in workshop 2. The idea was to think of two things you would give to say thank you – a physical thing and something slightly less tangible. We would like to share it with you here, brought beautifully to life by Martyn Greenwood’s amazing technical skills!

Illuminated poem

Thanks, a thousand times thanks

A posy of flowers
Terry’s chocolate orange
A bottle of Scotch

CDs selectively shared
Marbles to roll and marvel
A postcard memento, date stamped and signed

A bouquet of flowers
As a thank you with nature’s smile

A smile is a sentence in itself
A cascade of words in full bloom

Residual associations reallocated
A captured memory fluttering to fly free
Permission to backpack to playtime, push forward and connect
The oil of togetherness, water of life, the warm glow of creativity

A quiet smile of reassurance
For increasing my confidence

Lorna Dawson - Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
John Gale – Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Martyn Greenwood – Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
Sally Hall – Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
Siobhan Linsey – Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
Susan Smith – Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Rachel Steele – Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust