Accessing Emotion Through Poetry

We were very grateful to have Christine De Luca, the Makar of Edinburgh (The Edinburgh version of the Poet Laureate) with us today.  Christine introduced us to different poems by a variety of poets about life affirming subjects such as hope, peace, escape, growth, humour and love.  We discovered that sometimes we can really connect a poem in the way that the rhythm flows, or the imagery resonates with us, or the emotions described connect with a situation in our own lives.  We were introduced to the themes for these poems by going back to our schooldays and making a paper fortune teller as a fun way of opening up the session.


Christine read to us this poem, and we thought about how we may still have good memories and associations of food lovingly prepared for us by grandparents:

Grandpa’s Soup
No one makes soup like my Grandpa’s,
with its diced carrots the perfect size
and its diced potatoes the perfect size
and its wee soft bits –
what are their names?
and its big bit of hough,
which ryhmes with loch, floating
like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea.

I say, Grandpa, Grandpa your soup is the best soup in the whole world.
And Grandpa says, Och,
which rhymes with hough and loch,
Och, Don’t be daft,
because he’s shy about his soup, my Grandpa.
He knows I will grow up and pine for it.
I will fall ill and desperately need it.
I will long for it my whole life after he is gone.
Every soup will become sad and wrong after he is gone.
He knows when I’m older I will avoid soup altogether.
Oh Grandpa, Grandpa, why is your soup so glorious? I say
tucking into my fourth bowl in a day.

Barley! That’s the name of the wee soft bits. Barley.
Jackie Kay
Christine asked the group members what the group meant to them, they said it was a safe place where they could take their mask off, and where they could be themselves without fear of judgement.  The group offer a lot of support to one another.  We think that the following poem by Christine De Luca maybe sums up how people are happy to have met one another and the difference that being in the group makes to their lives:
Chance of a Lifetime


From the airplane, streaks of light pick out
a little town, plumped down there by chance:
an accidence of streams and slopes,
heads and tails of nature’s providence.

For us–no more, no less–the time,
and place and fortune of our birth
is happenchance; yours and mine,
my love, as random as the rest.

Had this fine braiding of our stream not come
–this blessèd odds–I would have pined long
for it. When you’re around, your fun
and cheerfulness send every penny spinning
in the air, to land the right way up,
heads or tails, whichever one is called.

For more of Christine’s poems click here for her website

2 thoughts on “Accessing Emotion Through Poetry

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