Friday, February 5, 2010


When visiting the Health Centre the other day I found the waiting room full of elderly ladies, like me. On the magazine table, almost hidden amongst the trivia magazines and vintage National Geographics, I spied some rose pink leaflets, A4 folded in three.

they announced. Inside was a selection of short poems, from the classical by Robert Burns, through ‘Wild Daisies’ by Bub Bridger to a haiku by Greeba Brydges-Jones and best of all under the title was added.
yours to keep

This was my first sighting of a project I have known about for some time, so I grabbed a copy and showed it to the other ladies. Instead of discussing our current ailments we spent a delightful twenty minutes reading and discussing the poems. I think our blood pressure would have registered lower as a result.

Poetry in Waiting Rooms is the brain child of Dunedin Poet Ruth Arnison. She plans to put together four issues per year. The Autumn collation is about to go to the printer and she is working on Winter.; a labour of love involving finding and choosing poems, then getting permission from copyright holders, organising sponsorship for printing and distribution and finally talking the medical community to put the leaflets into their waiting rooms. WELL DONE RUTH!

Speaking of Physicians and Poetry, I recently discovered NORBERT HIRSCHHORN who is the featured poet in this month’s Caught in the Net line poetry magazine.
A specialist in women and children’s health care, who now lives between London and Beirut Hirschhorn’s poetry is elegant, polished, with that indefinable touch of Jewish wit; like ‘Stand straight my mother said, or you’ll turn into a hunchback and no one will want to marry your sister.’

I have a lifelong schoolgirl crush on John Keats, I have loved Lawrence Ferlinghetti for forty years, Roger McGough for twenty, now Norbert Hirschhorn looks like taking his place right along side them.


  1. Poetry in waiting rooms is such a great idea! I think I'll make that a project for my Chrischurch Community Celebration Poetry group next year.

  2. That's great Lesley. If there is any way I can help please get in touch. Waiata