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Meeting a poetic soul at the Day Hospice

20 April 2021

Hello, I’m Kate and I work in the Communications Team at Birmingham St Mary’s. A few months ago, I had the privilege of meeting Colin, a patient receiving care and support through Birmingham St Mary’s Day Hospice programme.  Originally diagnosed with cancer back in 2013, Colin first came into contact with the Hospice through his MacMillan nurse.  

During our chat, Colin told me about his life: his family and friends, his health and his hobbies and interests.  He recalled happy day trips to Worcester – sitting by the river ‘recharging his batteries’ – his love of fishing and fond memories of holidays to Cornwall.  He also shared insight into his love of creative writing.

Although he didn’t consider himself academic growing up, Colin said he’s always been someone who “scribbled stuff down”.  With Covid restrictions and health complications preventing him from being able to get out and about as much over the past 12 months, writing became something of an escape for him.

Colin started keeping a journal when he was in hospital, but he also enjoyed writing poetry.  In recent years, Colin had started work on a science fiction novel and, more recently, a shoot em’ up Western – which he’d hoped to one day see filmed, with everybody speaking the verses in the poem.

A few weeks after joining Day Hospice, Colin’s creativity was once again sparked, and so he penned a poem about his experiences which he shared with the group during one of his early sessions.

Sadly Colin died in March and is much missed by the friends he made at Day Hospice – both patients and staff. To honour his wishes and celebrate his creativity, we’re sharing his writing here.  

Three hours a week is all that they ask
For gentle chat or an interesting task
1-2-1 if it’s wanted
Where troubles are shared, and wishes granted
Exercise next on the list to do
Work through that, feeling good – woo hoo!
Recently we had cones to decorate
Who knows what’s next; we anticipate
A friendly buzz runs through the group; better than a bowl of soup
Happy faces, cheerful hellos
Remembrances raised, sharp echoes
Time for a break, 15 minutes will do
When we return, we meditate so
Our eyes closed, our minds all clear
All those stresses just disappear

Thank you for writing this lovely poem, Colin. Rest in peace.