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Why we need more poetry in palliative care
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  • Published on:
    Not just in palliative care

    Elizabeth Davies uses palliative care "to explore the potential use of poetry in healthcare". And indeed its use can be much wider. As she points out, "For those who enjoy reading poetry, discussing or writing it can become a means of expressing emotion, making sense of events and putting a biographical story togerther."
    That was my experience following the deaths, in a motor vehicle accident, of my eldest son Marcus and his partner Rachael. Verse written, wept over, and repeatedly revised during the year after their deaths was, I'm sure, helpful in my coming to accept, at a 'gut level' as well as intellectually, what had happened.
    And it wasn't helpful just to me. When a selection of the verse (1) was published to raise money for a trust in memory of Marcus and Rachael, it also proved useful to some who had suffered similar bereavement, perhaps because the writer had experienced the same hell as them:
    "but our souls too
    are pierced by a sword." (2)
    (1) 'As Well as Joy - Elegies for Marcus and Rachael'; Rachael Gloag and Marcus Fitchett Memorial Medical Education Trust, Dunedin, 1998
    (2) Ib.; p. 40. 'The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple'.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.