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Poems & Poetry from Power of the Pen

The Power of the Pen project at Arkbound was dedicated to reaching out to individuals in Scotland who had found their mental health exacerbated by the social isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Harriet Knock, one of our mentors for the program and author of Emerging from the Storm, testified that

‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to mentor the Power of the Pen project! A truly rewarding program which has taught me so much and given me valuable experience. I am passionate about supporting others and this role has been a lovely way to encourage creative writing as a cathartic release! Words help people, not only by enabling them to share their experiences with others but by acting as a therapy, allowing people to cope with their emotions by writing them down.

Each blank page is a brand-new opportunity, to tell their story, to escape from reality into a realm of their imagination, to communicate with others; or simply to let go of anything on their mind.

It is a form of therapy that is accessible to anyone, no matter where they are or what skills they may have. Writing is free, it is flexible, it is rewarding, and it has been an honour to be able to hear the brilliant work of my mentees.

So much power can be unleashed, simply through grasping a pen.’

The aim of this National Lottery funded project was to help individuals tackle these issues and create a new sense of community through a series of creative writing workshops. Some of the participants agreed to share some pieces of the works they produced during the program on our blog:

‘Giacomo Leopardi’ by Lucrezia Gaion

When I was young, I was told what to

See when thinking of Giacomo Leopardi.

I had to see sadness, thick and writhing,

I had to see apathy, still and dimming,

I had to see pain, sharp and cutting,

I had to see him, pleading, with the Moon.

But now I think,

And I see the Infinite,

I see creativity, alive and burning,

I see passion, powerful and demanding,

I see feelings, complex and fabricating,

And I see him, as he stood

And roared, for hours at the Moon.

‘Freedom’ by Foxxy

Freedom may mean many things to many different people,

It comforts the trapped, the strong and brave, as equally as the feeble.

What Freedom means to you or I most others may never know,

What lies beneath that gives us hope to carry on with the flow,

The path seems like a twisting one that’s fraught with lots of hurdles,

But Life and Love and what’s in between, can feel like such a heavy burden,

The lure of Light and Life and Love with all its bells and whistles,

Feels like a far-off distant thing, just like how a mirage glistens.

To the birds who soar, ascend and fly it all seems so easy,

But to those who dwell on Earth below, Freedom may not feel so breezy,

Yet to a leaf that falls and twists, then flutters to the ground,

Freedom may feel like a final hurrah or something much more profound.

Is breathing free, or thoughts or sounds; sometimes I doubt this reality,

If being free is just a state of mind, then how can we get clarity?

Still there are those who deny and blame so they don’t have to face the disparity.

No rejection here, just Peace and Love; such an open heart is a rarity.

When they say to us “Just free your mind!”, how did they know it wasn’t open?

Yet our eyes can say a million things without a word ever being spoken.

You know that way, that you just know by breathing in the air?

By digging deep and inspecting close what’s said and isn’t there.

Freedom seems like it can’t be reached with ease, or grace, or poise,

But if you listen with intent, you might hear it roar above the noise.

‘Ranga the kanga’ by Angela Cunningham

Ranga is a super powered kangaroo

She’s special, talented, and has magical powers too

She can jump as high as skyscrapers, one of her superpowers, but she has more

I will tell you what she has in store

Don’t mess with this sassy lady because she can box like crazy

One punch will knock you oot yer nut,

But another little ability she has is her magic boomerang protecting her joeys n her sack,

So, you better watch your back cause she surely will attack

She’ll hit you in the big baw heed you’ll be in so much pain you’ll wish you were deed

She’ll jump up and doon on you like a trampoline yes she’s he scariest thing you’ve ever seen 

Queen Ranga she will knock you oot and wilny give two hoots,

So this is the story of superkanga with her mighty punch, her thrusty jump and super boomeranga.

‘Gorse’ by Celia Donovan

Do not bring the gorse sprig home

For it will prickle as you pick it

And wilt on the dashboard of the car

It will lose its sweet coconut scent which wafts with such ease

In a sea breeze

And it will look so lonesome on its own

Without its thousand little buttery blossom buddies

Gathered there

United in their pairs.

Leave it there

By the shore where it belongs

Let it live on to pleasure others

And trust nature to do her bidding

Let her be the one to pick and choose

When it should bloom and falter.

Appreciate it as it should be

Fruitful, fragrant and Spread free

You cannot capture those sweet seaside smiles

In a smuggled souvenir

Like laughter tilting on the tide rippled air

Let it go.

‘If You Must’ by Gabriella Rodriguez

Dear artist with the paint-flecked fingernails

and stained palms, looking at me with a stranger’s eye –

if you must paint me

(and believe me, I am skeptical)

do so in a way that would make my mother smile.

If you must paint me,

do so in a way that would make my teenage self blush

at the frizzy hair I used to hide

and the brown eyes I thought boring.

If you must paint me,

put a book in my hand and wine in the other,

and a smile on my face that has learned to bloom.

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