Monthly Archives: July 2022

Poetry Shelf health update

Home sweet home! After five weeks and three days in Auckland Hospital’s wonderful Motutapu Ward, I am back in the quiet and pitch dark night of home, with the bush birds singing and the expanse of shifting skies beguiling. I am back in the loving care of family.

As a bone marrow transplant patient, I had my own room and I made it home with pictures on the wall (including the beautiful bouquet envelopes containing a couple of flower poems and pictures Westmere School children sent me every few days). I bought books and scrabble, a Frida Khalo colouring book and 48 colouring pencils. I had crossword puzzles and children’s picture books and novels lining the window ledge. I could see the harbour, the islands, a pocket of the domain, the sky tower, the clouds streaming fascinating tableau. It became a calm and happy place, and that was how my head and heart were.

Yes, it has been the toughest experience but it has also filled me with unbelievable joy and awe. The staff nurses and Drs were extraordinary. There I was dependent on their care, and no matter how long their shift, no matter when they came in on leave weeks to assist an understaffed and stretched ward, they were attentive, diligent, warm, empathetic.

And now to the next stage: to the long cobblestone undulating recovery road with its high risks and high rewards, as I take one single day at a time, keeping my head free of clutter, letting the outside world in, in strange smidgeons. It was good I laid boundaries for myself at the start with public, friends and family, not reading emails or social media, having my darling daughter act as go-between. Keeping the rooms in my head clear of demands and thoughts that are not helpful.

Back home I can measure my extreme fatigue and how I need to keep tending the rooms in my head and heart to maintain my state of calm and equilibrium. To take each day as it comes and take baby steps eating and walking, doing and being. I am going into Day Stay several times a week for awhile, where the staff are equally sublime.

I miss you. I miss my dear friends and extended family. I miss you sublime poets, I miss my connections with poetry communities who have fed me so well over the past decades. I am way off posting on my blog but it will come (I will sleep after this post!).

More than anything I thank you for the beautiful cards and messages and poems you sent me. It felt like a crazy invite but to have those images line the window shelf and to hold a Cilla McQueen, Emily Dickinson, Joy Harjo or Claire Orchard poem to my heart (among so many more) was such a balm. I saved them, and opened one by one, as I most needed them. It kept me in touch with a world that is humane and kind and generous. Our small gestures matter.



PO Box 95078 Swanson, Waitākere, 0653

the sunlight faded images to green (family artwork and home)!