In A Good Place: Poetry for Dying Matters Week 2022

Welcome to a special open session for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, aimed at members of the Living Well community.

This week we will cover the theme suggested by Hospice UK for Dying Matters Awareness Week 2022: what does it mean to be “in a good place” in relation to death and dying?

This morning we will:

Hear some poetry, prose writing and music on the theme of places and perspectives.
Discuss how authors create a sense of acceptance and peace in their poetry, and what we can learn from the “good places” (literal and metaphorical) that they describe.

The Poems

1. An extract from A Burst of Light and Other Essays, by Audre Lorde

“Building into my living – without succumbing to it – an awareness of this reality of my life, that I have  a condition within my body of which I will eventually die, comes in waves, like a rising tide. It exists side by side with another force inside me that says no you don’t, not you.

There is a different kind of energy inherent within each of these feelings, and I try to reconcile and use these different energies whenever I need them. The energy generated by the first awareness serves to urge me always to get on with living my life and doing my work with an intensity and purpose of the urgent now. Throw the toys overboard, we’re headed into rougher waters.

The energies generated by the second force fuel a feisty determination to continue what I am doing forever. The tensions generated inside me by the contradictions is another source of energy and learning. I have always known I learn my most lasting lessons about difference by closely attending to the ways in which the differences inside me lie down together.”

2. ‘Sleeping in the Forest’, by Mary Oliver

3. ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks

Further Reading

Would you consider starting a conversation with your family and loved ones about your wishes, hopes and worries about dying? There are resources and help available from Arthur Rank’s nursing team and lots of reading and practical suggestions for starting tricky conversation on the Dying Matters website.

You may like to have a look at Words for our selection of poetry and prose on the theme of death and dying.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and learn from your insights and experiences. Feel free to speak to the nursing team or get in touch with us directly cambridgegooddeath@gmail.com.

Posted: 3rd May 2022