The Lapidus Pilot Project finally, tentatively, got off the ground this week. Recruitment has been difficult and yesterday only one woman turned up. She was engaged and willing, so the session ran smoothly, but we'd obviously hoped for more participants. And I'm not sure what it will all add to our understanding of the therapeutic value of creative writing.

I have butted up once more against one of the tensions between my self as writer and my self as healer. When I was solely a writer (was I ever that?) the world, and every person in it, was available to my pen. These days I wonder, at what point does my interaction with someone, my response to those I meet, become enough of my own property, to be expressed in my creative work? It is not an easy question to find an answer to. I notice I do not write about my counselling clients here - even heavily disguised - though I carry them and their concerns with me in my everyday life. But I do write about those I connect with when I'm working as a poet in a therapeutic environment. Have I found the right place for that fine line between me as (trainee) counsellor and me as writer?


Sitting here talking about death
with a man who is dying.
"Life is precious," he tells me.
How can I disagree?
"It's worth holding onto,"
he says.

Though I want to say:
Not always,
not for everyone,
not necessarily.
How can I argue with someone who is dying?

We chat about deaths,
good ones, bad ones,
as if about the weather.
I feel his expertise,
a deference to his experience,
though I suppose - later -
that we are all dying
by degrees.


I am startled by the puddles of purple and white which are suddenly appearing under the trees, and by the little parades of trumpeting yellow. As I drive down to Hull, I marvel at the gathering of giant metallic irises rising out of the flat green and brown landscape. I want to capture their strange alien beauty, their arms outspread to capture the wind or in some bizarre sign of sacrifice.

I have written this blog entry many times in my mind and dream of the technology which would see what I concoct in thought being transmitted onto my computer to be edited and crafted later. How much easier this would make keeping up with my emails.


Landscape Adjustments
The world changes
after a storm,
trees become bonsai,
telegraph poles, fence tops.

The old lady oak
in her pleated serge cloak
has a mirror now
to gaze at herself in
and weep,
for her once straight spine
is crooked,
her arms bent,
too heavy
to embrace the sky.

Sheep stare warily
at the creep of water,
ducks rejoice
at new possibilities.

Their view is for ever altered;
they’ll remember pasture
as greener than it really was,
less bogged
in manured mud.

Oak, sky, sheep, duck
watch the waters recede
their field
no longer – quite -
as they recall it.


There is a library, a monumental library with majestic pillars, zig-zagging black and grey marble. The windows are high up, square squints which change colour with the hour, the day, the season. And somewhere on a bees-wax polished shelf marked 803.96 EVA are my discarded selves.

The ones I don't want or need anymore, or the ones I didn't take up. There's the straggle haired girl who rouged too often, too ferociously. The mother I never was. The bold war correspondent I once dreamed I wanted to be.

I imagine them as lifeless rag dolls, but perhaps they are not. Maybe they are already breathing, examining their nails, counting backwards from a hundred. Waiting. Endlessly. Waiting for me.