The Poetic Nursing Heart

Embracing Neurodiversity: A Folk Rebellion Through the Lens of “The Wandering Lamb” at Canterbury Christ Church University


Embracing Neurodiversity: A Folk Rebellion Through the Lens of “The Wandering Lamb” at Canterbury Christ Church University

by Tom Delahunt (the #hobopoet)

In the heart of Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), beneath the sprawling branches of wisdom’s tree, a folk rebellion quietly unfurled its banners last month. It was a rebellion of the soul, a gathering of kindred spirits drawn together by the haunting melody of neurodiversity and the timeless resonance of inclusion. At its helm stood “The Wandering Lamb,” a humble children’s book that carried within its pages the echoes of ancient wisdom and the promise of a more compassionate tomorrow.

Picture, if you will, the scene: a tapestry of vibrant colours woven by the hands of local artists in creativity, the Canterbury Christ Church Creatives. From knitted wonders to hand-painted pebbles, they conjured forth over 300 lambs, each a testament to the beauty found in diversity and the power of collective imagination. In their midst, the author of “The Wandering Lamb,” a poet-nurse with a happily broken soul, stood as a beacon of truth, hope and inspiration.

(credit; Julie Bentley)

“The Wandering Lamb,” much like Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese,” beckons us to come closer, to shed the burdens of conformity and embrace the wildness of our true selves. It speaks of unconditional love, of finding solace in the arms of community, and of the courage to wander freely, unbound by the chains of societal expectations. In its verses, we find echoes of Tom Waits’ soulful ballads, the gritty poetry of Ginsberg, and the raw pain of Kerouac’s journey into the heart of darkness.


But perhaps it is in the artistry of Joni Mitchell that we find the truest reflection of “The Wandering Lamb” and its message of rebellion through beauty. Like Mitchell’s brushstrokes on a musical canvas, each lamb crafted by Bentley and her fellow creatives is a stroke of defiance against the rigid structures of sameness that seek to confine us. They are whispers of freedom, painted in hues of passion and empathy, calling out to the rebels and dreamers among us to rise up and reclaim our birthright.

In the corridors of CCCU, where the echoes of academia mingle with the songs of the soul, the event took on a life of its own. It was a pilgrimage of the heart, a journey into the depths of human experience guided by the red thread of consciousness that binds us all. Through the lens of “The Wandering Lamb,” attendees were invited to explore the themes of trust, trauma, and love, each a thread in the tapestry of our shared humanity.

Yet, amidst the celebration and revelry, there lingered a sense of urgency, a call to arms against the injustices that plague our society. Like Ginsberg’s howl in the night, the author’s voice rang out with a fierce determination to challenge the status quo and demand a better world for all. For in a world where poverty is often synonymous with invisibility, where voices of authority drown out the cries of the marginalized, the need for rebellion has never been more pressing.

As the event drew to a close, and the echoes of laughter and conversation faded into the night, a quiet revolution was born. It was a revolution fuelled not by anger or hatred, but by the transformative power of love and empathy. Inspired by the words of Audre Lorde, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle,” the rebels of CCCU pledged to stand in solidarity with the neurodiverse community, to champion their cause, and to create a world where everyone is seen, heard, and valued.

And so, dear reader, as you ponder the tale of “The Wandering Lamb” and the folk rebellion that took root at Canterbury Christ Church University, remember this: within each of us lies the power to change the world. It is in the wildness of our dreams, the beauty of our creations, and the depth of our compassion that true revolution resides. So let us rise, together, and walk boldly into the dawn of a new era, where love reigns supreme and all are welcome in the circle of humanity.

[To delve deeper into the journey of “The Wandering Lamb” and join the rebellion for neurodiversity and inclusion, visit the Canterbury Christ Church University Partners in Learning blog at

. And don’t forget to secure your copy of “The Wandering Lamb” at the CCCU Bookshop, as copies are selling out fast! Get yours soon to be part of this transformative movement.]

Please fill in the form below, if you would like Tom Delahunt to do a talk/workshop/interactive session at a school/college:

A talk with Tom Delahunt – CCCU (

Share this page: