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Poems in a Pandemic

Poems in a Pandemic  – what’s that?

Social care and support staff working in care homes, the community and in all-care settings are at the front line of the coronavirus fight because they are working alongside the NHS and supporting the country’s most vulnerable people.  They have not been able to ignore the Covid-19 pandemic:

“The eye – it cannot choose but see, We cannot bid the ear be still, Our bodies feel, wher’er they be, Against or with our will” (William Wordsworth)

What they have given deserve to be recognised, what they have experienced needs to be shared.  They have stories that should be told.  So a coalition of social care providers, supported by Care Talk, invited the whole of the social care sector to express their feelings and share their experiences in poems and in illustrations and paintings.

The result was the ‘Poems in a Pandemic’ poetry and art competition.  Launched in summer 2020, it is a way of capturing  those thoughts, feelings and experiences.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart” (William Wordsworth)

The poems entered in the Poems in a Pandemic competition had to fall into one of ten categories:

  1. Hope
  2. Recovery
  3. Isolation
  4. Humour
  5. Reflection
  6. Loss
  7. Bereavement
  8. Observation
  9. Uplifting
  10. Bravery


What did the Poems in a Pandemic competition produce?

270 poems were entered and 10 winning poems were selected from each of the ten categories. The winning 100 poems will be published in a book and all proceeds from the book will go to support the mental health of care workers through art projects. The book will include a description of the category winners.  In that way, readers will learn more about the experiences and stories of the care workers.

See the winners and how you can help to get the anthology of winning poems published here

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”

Remember, though, that the winning poems have been judged on their artistic merits, but their authors – workers in the care sector – are all winners. All are tremendous individuals and we will be eternally grateful for the service they have given.

What are Soroptimists doing for the Poems in a Pandemic competition?

The president of the Northern England Region of Soroptimist International, Karen Alexander, recruited Soroptimists from across the UK to judge the entries in the Poems in a Pandemic competition.

Woking Soroptimists Sue Solly and Norma Empringham are two of the judges.  SI Woking is keen to help this wonderful project.  The contribution of our members is an expression of the deep appreciation and respect all of us have for the many individuals – mainly women, usually working for minimum wages – in the care sector.

They are giving their all during the pandemic.  But they also gave their all before the pandemic and will continue to do so after the pandemic.

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