Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist
(Office) 413-967-2296 (Cell) 413-237-6743
Ware, MA (August 21, 2014) - We have all experienced the comfort of soothing words offered by a friend. The right words can offer comfort and can bring relief during the most difficult of 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, Medical/Surgical Floor weekly offering her hand crafted booklets which contain a collection of poetry and miniature vases filled with flowers she has grown especially 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 ten poems that contain celestial images and speak of peace and the inter-connectedness of life. “The idea for creating and donating twenty 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,” said Mays. “Once this thought came to me, I became very excited about the prospect, and I'm now committed to it.”
Each visit made by Mays includes miniature bouquets of flowers personally grown by the local writer. “I also figured that a couple of bright flowers in a small amber bottle would be cheerful, so I planted marigolds, zinnias, and winter-blooming heath in my garden for this purpose,” noted Mays. “It's fun making miniature bouquets to be given to the patients along with the booklets.”
“Our patients have truly enjoyed the visits paid by Carol”, said Tina Paulson BS, RN, Nurse Manager of the Davis Wing at the hospital in Ware. “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.”
“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,’ said Mays. “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,” said Mays.
Baystate Mary Lane Hospital was named as a 2014 PRC Five Star Excellence Award winner for scoring in the top 10% nationally for "Excellent" responses in Inpatient Services-HCAHPS-Discharge Information.
For more information about Baystate Mary Lane Hospital visit baystatehealth.org/bmlh.