Phil Isherwood is a PhD Graduate from the University of Bolton (Cultural and Creative Studies Dept.), his thesis title is 'Numinous Connections: Poetry in the Hospice'. He works as a volunteer poet in hospice Creative Therapies and his poetry is inspired by conversations with patients and the creative art and craft work they produce.He writes "... creative connections recognise and signify a patient’s life, character, passion and person in ways that are not ‘documentary’ but art. It is possible to offer new creative views that are able to elevate and ennoble. In this way I believe it is possible to celebrate the self and personal significance of a patient in a way that may help them to transcend their illness and prognosis. This is not clinical therapy, but I believe it should be a key component of the hospice declared mission to ‘live well’ as death approaches." Key interest in use of poetry in 'narrative identity' and in encouraging other poets to work in hospices. Phil is also a worship leader at Sports Village Church in Leigh (a CofE 'Fresh Expressions' church.


Elated Ten months. An opportunity to live, a window you look through whilst it’s open. No room for clichés when you count in days. Curious child, pulling petals from flowers. The rain comes, paints words, an offer of a thousand lenses. The coffee dances to the jazz of a bus pulling away. No one was waiting today. Calm. I imagine deafness, all the sounds as memories. Blindness would need the mind’s galleries to be lit. I imagine breathing, like I haven’t been doing it for sixty three years. Phil Isherwood #DyingMattersWeek #TheBigConversation @boltonhospice #poetry when local school children visited the hospice to talk to the patients. Children’s Voices Way more different. I thought it would be dark. Amazing not boring. Support. Loved. Well Good. A majestic place as well as a hospice. A second home. A wonderful journey. Dying is for everyone. Hard to take it in. You need people around you. Don’t be scared, you’ll have fun. Seeing people really happy. Give respect, get respect. I learned how sad it is. I met many new people. Tough situations. Sensitive feelings. Doing art, something to remember them. Really welcoming. Thank you. I loved it. Can I come again? ----------------- Community Arts Project edited by Phil Isherwood. Hospice Poet This poem is taken from the phrases used on the children’s feedback forms after their visit. --------------------- #DyingMattersWeek #TheBigConversation @boltonhospice #poetry a patient begins a new art activity and talks about the enjoyment of being creative. Silk Catena Rondo Today I will try something new, finding a space where I’ll see something creative beginning in me; today I will try something new finding a space where I’ll see the silk laid out, the colours blending, pink and cyan and the salt intermingling; finding a space where I’ll see the silk laid out, the colours blending within each grain, the touch of a flame creating the beauty in my own name, the silk laid out, the colours blending; today I will try something new, finding a space where I’ll see something creative beginning in me; today I will try something new. Phil Isherwood Hospice Poet 2016 ------------------------ #DyingMattersWeek #TheBigConversation @boltonhospice #poetry talking to a patient who says about her life ‘ I’d do it all over again’ I'd Do It All Over Again. Wink. The Land Girl began to harvest in Devon. Feeding a nation at war, driving trucks, dodging the warden's tongue. Cycling free in the wind. 'Please come back as you are going.' Mother had a distaste for tray-baked sympathies. 'We don't eat funeral cake.' Tissue wrapped, flowers, leaves, rich russets and ochres. One leaf, Eric's' Black Grape, now held in fingers finely scarred by thorn and scythe. They'd been bandaged with leaves in the war. Eisenhower saw the thin milking coats and gave out fur-collar flight jackets. War ended. Churchill demobbed the girls, but never issued trousers. They marched, to pain the rump of Downing Street. A toast in Whiteways cider. Mother never knew. 'Will you help me choose a watch in Preston's?' Time wraps up the leaves, the precious and the fragile. Wink. 'I'd do it all over again.' Phil Isherwood Hospice Poet ------------------------------- Trucks and Travelling My granddad taught me to build a bike, to make each wheel run true and then set out, enjoy the ride. I travelled, I built, I worked it out. A lot of trial and error. Study it. Tackle anything. That’s the way of an engineer. Lights and sounds and electronics. Leaf springs and shock absorbers. Memories in models; the best you can buy are Tamiya. Spot on. A trans-continental Road Train. A Globe Liner. A Wrecker Truck. HMS Matabele and a Supply Vessel, both built, balanced, but yet to sail. There was a real Zephyr Mk. 2 that I left in Australia with a note. ‘The keys are inside, yours to take if you want it.’ I was going home. Phil Isherwood 2014

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