Poet Provides Comfort, Inspiration to Hospital Patients

WARE — The right words can often bring comfort and relief during the most difficult times.   
“For many facing an illness that requires hospitalization, a gentle voice, caring words, and poetry in particular can be healing,” said Carol Mays, a local poet who volunteers at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware.
“I’m a long-standing believer in the power of poetry to restore and uplift a person’s spirits, and, more recently, I’ve read about research that indicates that feelings of well-being tend to facilitate faster recovery rates following surgery,” said Mays, who visits the Davis Wing, a medical/surgical floor, weekly, offering her handcrafted booklets of poetry and miniature vases filled with flowers she has grown specifically for her visits to the hospital.  
Four years ago, Mays started a poetry group in Ware. Members have been meeting monthly since to read poems in a candlelit room and also to host quarterly poetry events for the community. “In collaboration with several participants in this group, I wrote and published several books, including Poems of Peace and Renewal, the source book from which most of the poems in my hospital booklets were taken,” said Mays.   
Creating and designing the poetry booklet herself, Mays chose a star-embellished fabric for the cover and selected 10 poems that contain celestial images and speak of peace and the interconnectedness of life.
 “The idea for creating and donating 20 poetry booklets a month to hospital patients came to me one afternoon out of the blue, when I wasn’t thinking about poetry or planning any projects at all,” she said. “Once this thought came to me, I became very excited about the prospect, and I’m now committed to it.
“I also figured that a couple of bright flowers in a small, amber bottle would be cheerful,” she added, “so I planted marigolds, zinnias, and winter-blooming heath in my garden for this purpose. It’s fun making miniature bouquets to be given to the patients along with the booklets.”  
 Tina Paulson nurse manager of the Davis Wing, said patients have enjoyed the visits. “The poetry booklets have been inspirational, therapeutic, and healing for them as well. The practice of using writing, and poetry in particular, to help people who are sick or otherwise suffering has become more common in the hospital and healthcare setting.” 
Added Mays, “I have been hospitalized several times over the course of my life, and I remember feeling dreary and alone after the visiting hours were over and the activity of the day had subsided. I’m trying to give patients something that will be uplifting and soothing to them, especially late in the evening. I am delighted that Mary Lane has approved this project, and I plan to continue it for years to come.”

Comments are closed.