Poetry Prescriptions is our new weekly series with a title nodding to William Sieghart’s acclaimed collection, The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul. We have invited contributors to choose a poem that speaks to them in this time of isolation and loss, or simply a poem that has a particular significance. Healthcare workers, artists, arts and health practitioners, health service users and others will be sharing their picks over the coming weeks.
We asked Ben Murnane, author and editor, if he would consider selecting one of his own poems to get the series up and running. ‘Hidden’ is a poem from his debut collection Feather Silence (2010).
Some of us are stuck at home, losing our livelihoods; some of us are out for days that are longer than ever, risking our lives to keep others alive. The weight of this gigantic moment in time… For me personally, this time is like the months after my bone marrow transplant 19 years ago; being so grateful for the healthcare workers who had saved my life; confined to the house because I couldn’t go anywhere, the risk of infection was too great. When I wrote my memoir, Two in a Million, about my illness, alongside it I wrote a poetry collection about moments that were more ordinary. When I’ve felt trapped, unexpected things – a bad joke, a flash of a memory – have reminded me that each day can still be different and rich. I wrote this about those things you don’t expect to bring a smile, but do. – Ben Murnane