Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman took part in a poetry project at Salisbury Hospital.
The hospital has released a new collection of poems on the Covid pandemic, and Olivia Colman has been recorded reading two of the newly commissioned poems for YouTube.
The actress is the sponsor of The Stars Appeal, the official NHS charity for Salisbury District Hospital.
The Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust’s collection of poems – âMy Name is Mercyâ – is inspired by some of the experiences of hospital staff during the pandemic.
Olivia Colman reads the poems ‘Fifth Season’, which is based on a patient’s true story, and ‘Nightshift’, which was recently chosen by Poetry Archive Now as one of the poems for 2021.
Fifth season: https://youtu.be/ppZDwIeOtd8
Night shift: https://youtu.be/GY3eee7ugzI
The Ridge Line: https://youtu.be/gRioZiLC_Dw
In March, the Trust commissioned poet Martin Figura to interview staff across the Trust, exploring what it was like to be on the frontlines of the pandemic.
The poet Martin Figura. Photo: Harley Shearstone
It became the ‘My Name is Mercy’ collection, which is also the title of a poem based on one of the series of reports that the BBC’s Mark Urban produced for Newsnight.
On the cover of the book is nurse Priyanka Sharma, who appeared on the BBC Newsnight program, pictured by former Salisbury Hospital staff Monaya Abel.
The 30 poems then became part of the Trust’s Reflections on the Pandemic project, which included sharing the poems on social media, staff events and an evening of music and poetry at Brown Street.
The Reflections project was made possible with funding from the League of Friends and The Stars Appeal.
Martin Figura also led workshops where staff and groups, including Wiltshire Creative’s ‘Mind the Gap’ group for seniors and drama students at Wiltshire College, could explore in writing their own experiences of the pandemic. in Salisbury.
Stacey Hunter, CEO of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: âWe have all truly had an experience unlike any other in the history of the NHS.
âThe moving and inspiring poems in ‘My Name is Mercy’ capture the psychological challenges our staff faced in navigating the pandemic and coping as best they could at work and in their personal lives.
âMartin Figura’s poems resonate with our staff and testify to their resilience. ”
David Stratton, president of League of Friends, which funded the project, said; âI’m really impressed. Some poems are really moving, some insightful and some quite haunting.
“For those of us who marveled at the depth of care the NHS has provided to so many, this anthology provides a glimpse into what life and death is like behind the headlines. The League of Friends of Salisbury Hospital has been truly happy and proud to be a part of this important work.
Martin Figura said: âThank you to everyone who made this project possible. I am especially grateful to those who gave me their time to be interviewed.
âThe lasting impact of the pandemic on their lives was palpable and deeply touching. I hope the poems will go some way to honor the experiences and sacrifices of staff, those they care for and those they care for. ”
The collection can be purchased at the Salisbury Cathedral Shop, the Hospital at the League of Friends Shop at the Main Entrance, or online: fairacrepress.co.uk/shop/by-martin-figura
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