The Poetic Nursing Heart

Get out of Jail Free Card.


Get out of Jail Free Card.

So just imagine for a second that society was a conscious prison of oppression. A place where alternatives were quietly but actively oppressed. Where control was centrally driven through fear and civil unrest. Where your dreams were just slowly modified to career opportunities. Aspirations tethered to realistic 9 to 5 occupation.

Now imagine that I could hand you a small card that allowed you to break from that reality and gave you permission to dance within the fantasy of your youth. Sir Ken Robinson in one of his many awe-inspiring Ted talks, spoke of the two truths. The role we were guided towards and the dreams we placed to one side. He asks the adults to answer a simple question. What would you chose to do if money was not an issue? 

Over the last few weeks, I placed a hat back upon my head and I beckoned people to a table to share in safe tea and cake ?.  We as a group spent just a few weeks unlocking the traumas and truths of each other’s minds. We did this through poetic connection to each other and the world around us. I was joined by many sweet-hearted travellers and we rested together within the 4th annual #poeticnursingheart. 

This blog I hope will offer some reflective clarity around the “why?”. As Nietzsche suggests “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Each year we come together in the symposiums, but they splinter and the connections dance like synapses across the reality consciousness explained in the opening paragraph. I am finding more often that the professionals and the learners are needing new and creative compass bearings in order to navigate the trauma of the role set before them.

This is almost a double eve.. as the recent symposium and the first kintsugi round table meeting have again poured healing into scars of the false self. Not just for me but it’s becoming evident that this is happening for others, which has become central as a research interest and theme within my creative PhD.

I came to understand recently what the journey has been for me, that is to accept that I am ‘worth love’. Sounds simple but it is the very deepest of changes like the myocardium of the fractured child heart actually cries out its cellular healing. A healing so deep within the subconscious that we don’t even know it’s a driver of our darkest behaviours.

I am not the things I had called myself, the fears and pains of love broken ? I am worth love and can love others. Such is the love you feel for the world. Born within, pure gold ruptures, healing the harm of the false self.

I read ? literature and scriptures now with a heart of joy. No longer do I fear words and learning.  New lights ✨ and new heights of being. I call this unlearning to become.

So what is your performer today? I am reading this book by (Goffman,1956) presentation of self in everyday life above. As I did the ‘pedagogy of the oppressed’ (Friere, 1970). The resonance of the works driving deep into my values. This approach would become known as Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis. And its an inspiration to me as it allows for my theories of looking in to the consciousness of trauma, ripping at the fabric of what we are told. The social realities and truths that are laid out ahead of us. It’s only though the kind and compassionate love of others that has led to these moments of alignment. The gallery and the blogs hold countless thinkers within the paper and the strings that bind us all together. I realise what legacy and doctoral work is now its a painful paradigm where you sit at a bridge within the Jungian awareness of creativity, and you simply endure. You endure the scoffing of others, the regular visits by the characters of your own false self-lived. Addict, masculine, thick, chatty, a feminine, imposter, distant, broken, failed, husband, lover, thinker, poet, boy, man,…. the pain is returned now, as I simply beckon the darkness and ask the black dog to keep me company.

So I sit here listening to Thom Yorke from the band Radiohead craft his musical truth. His ever-changing beauty captured in notes and words. Black star is such a painfully wonderful story of love breaking truth and fracturing that liminal space I love to talk of. So please enjoy and endure these associations I paint ? with, imagine each is a brush stroke or a placement in a jar of water where the spinning brush clouds the clear water with a colour used to paint the pain of self not being true. Do you have a performance, a mask you place on your face to cover the tears and please the audience ahead of you?

So I go back to the opening image of the monopoly ‘get out of jail free card’ and ask you are you living your truth today?

This is a pictorial reflection from one of the brave and valued butterfly ?flames ?. I adore it as it captures the best of a truth realised which is guiding others to a place where they can softly and quietly strengthen their inner sense of self and professional resolve.

There is a beautiful moment within this wonderful keynote where a number of academics/intellectuals hold on to the cosmic garments of Sadhguru. It’s around 3/4 of the way through where he suggests something truly wonderful yet lost. Which is a state of cosmic education where the child must volunteer without coercion that they hold a cosmic identity ahead of starting education. This he says is vital as if not education of an undeveloped identity will always lead to violence.

I am reminded of the beautiful words of Brian Cox where he lay looking up at the stars and he proclaimed the fact that we are all stardust and why would we not return to this sweetness of our cellular and cosmic identity.

This is the hope that anchors ⚓ my true self. I hope I will be gifted and granted space to help redefine how we develop cosmic identity within education ? if not then I fear I and others like me will drift back to spaces where we will feel happy to drink safe-tea and love a few open souls to a healthy place of holistic being.

But wouldn’t it be beautiful if there were more imagine releasing a world to a sense of true self freedom.


The following are other reflections from those touched by the madness and love of

the poetic hatter…..

Hi Tom,

Thank you for sharing your latest post with me. I’d been so busy with my assignments, I wanted to get them done before I did anything else.

It’s a lot later than I’d hoped, but I’ve written a short blog for your wonderful exhibition <3

Before I post it, I wanted you to read it and see if it’s ok to share! 🙂 …

“Back in April, I was invited to see Tom Delahunt’s (#Hobopoet #thebutterflyflame #poeticnursingheart) poetical exhibition based on his award-winning project, Poetic Nursing Heart along with his Masters and PhD. Research, in the new Verena Holmes building at CCCU. 

The exploration of ‘The True Self Within’ was an experience that would delve deeper into the subconscious seeking answers, truths, and manifestation. By deconstructing trauma, piece by piece, pulp by pulp, and embellishing them back together with red thread and flakes of gold, emphasizing the imperfections which ultimately bind us through unity of understanding, warmth, and wholeness.

Arising to the consciousness, an awareness of beauty and acknowledgement of our shadows. The pursuit of perfection becomes a distant dream as you walk through the labyrinth succumbing to the Shadow, accepting your flaws, your weaknesses, your imperfections.

Tom guided me through deconstructed poetical art, keeping me engaged and mindful of my own traumas untold. I was held with each step, and each moment we moved inwards, and each moment we paused. Tom read an excerpt from ‘A Story Like the Wind’ (Laurens Van der Post) where myths and magic meet in utopia, then, just as I felt those wings unfold, I was captured in a moment of time, constructing poetry from deconstructed, fractured words. Greeted by ‘The Butterfly Farmer’. As I spent some time playing with words, I felt liberated, enlightened, and burning as if the phoenix has risen once more.

Those darkened parts within me felt free, I felt warm, wanted, and appreciated.

At this moment, I felt I belonged.”

Erica X

My journey with the poetic nursing heart began slightly before the workshop as I shared a small insight to my truth and journey with trauma. I spoke through an essay to Tom who replied kindly, with support and understanding. He invited me to join.

A symposium was an exciting prospect, poetry is my sort of writing as the rules of language are abandoned. Perfect for me, I write as I speak. Google is the only way I can differentiate between verbs and adjectives, I must use them, but do not know which from what.

I love creativity. Writing, drawing, music, dancing, I escape in all of it. Whether this comes from trauma or genetics I do not know.

The first meeting was perfect, a small group of sweet hearted souls who were instantly open to sharing and listening. We played with magnetic words, so it was textured too. It was full of warmth and I did not want it to end. There was a phrase that stuck: Eccentricity is welcome here. It was an instantly safe place. I am hyperactive and twitchy, I wander with my mind constantly, I am probably a nightmare to be around but here are welcoming voices saying it is ok to be the real you.

The weeks progressed with similar feelings. People dropped in and out as they could. Laughing, talking and growing together. Whatever the meeting involved, you just left feeling better and excited. We discussed this unlocking of the creative mind, it didn’t help initially if you had an assignment to finish but in the settling, a fresher outlook was achieved, and the work was produced. I found it added a certain honesty to mine and a calmness to my days as I stopped regularly just to be.

It wasn’t only about writing poems. It was the sharing of beautiful things… sweet sentences spoken by our children, songs, films, photos, written words that resonated with one and were likely to resonate with others. It was a connection. Some never joined the meetings but their messages and beaming faces were just as joyful. This was some sort of virtual un-learning experience, a needed break from the online lessons taking place around us. Good energy travels through Wi-Fi as it turns out.

As is always the way, my highs come crashing down into incredible lows. There was a trigger within the walls of the gallery. After weeks of up, I fell down the rabbit hole, again. Though a lovely thing occurred, kind people were waiting at the top saying call out when you are ready, we are here. This means a lot. It is such a well-known place that the darkness is oddly comforting. The ground is warm and less consuming than it used to be. I know it is temporary. Still bites though, initially. A truly kind woman who I had only met once but felt I had known for a lifetime stayed with me, another virtual exchange of knowing. She is nearly a nurse now and will be amazing.

I need to be alone, often, but this truth can be easily masked in exuberance. My preservation. My performance. Listening to myself I headed to the gallery once more, in my own time. I knew something was on its way, but I didn’t know what. I sat quietly and stared at the butterfly farmer for a long time. Calm. I began writing about my grandad. He was my safety. He was pure. He is gone. For years the engulfing sorrow has prevented me from facing it.

I wrote from a place of love and joy and it felt wonderful. Tears fell, but they seemed to sting less. I remembered the good stuff, not his final breath. I thought about custard with sugar topping and laughed. It brought peace. The reason this matters is the heal, that comes from the rupture.

The workshop ended and I went into practice, 1st year nursing student, 1st placement. Within days I came face to face with the situation I had dreaded since beginning the course. An old man lay dying with his family around him, completely lost. Heavy air swamped the room and eyes were filled with tears and panic. I observed the patient, the qualified nurse was easing his agitation and he would die peacefully. I looked at his family, bereft, I understood their place and I knew mine. We talked about dying, what to expect, what his body was doing, and I answered their questions. We spoke of the things I had wanted to know when I was them. Eventually they shared stories and we laughed, he was a loved man. Some of the fear was gone. Not sadness, fear.

To me, this is the point of the workshop. It allowed me to be me, to accept the true self and to be accepted. From that I experienced huge ruptures, and they were healed with gold. They are still happening because I am inviting them to, so it didn’t end when it ended.

What I want is to be a nurse. What I am learning is I already am, but I will become a better one through my un-learning. So, I thank the lovely group who helped this to happen.

Laugh if you find the worm in the wall and listen to softly spoken voices of health librarians if you get a chance…

Caroline Dean

The Room,

I wake and smile as the walls are familiar

The sounds and the smells are known.

I am happily broken and no longer alone

As I sit at times in a meadow of perfume and wingbeats

Trapped in the room within my mind

Where the spaces of fear and past reside,

The hardest part is waking in the room

Having found my way hear within my dreams

Dreams unknowing, un-remembered and unwanted

But there I am again,

There are choices to be made,

Fight, flight, rest, laugh, tease.

This room would lead me to hedonism to numb the pain,

Now I wake and although sad and tired I do not fear

I don’t have to cover the anxiety with performance

Show some element of toxin to warn

Pat the black dog, ignore the growls.

Make the coffee and take your place at the table.

There is no truth of how long you will be here,

All you know is you will be back again some time.

The very sweetest honey and brightest gold,

Is that I am not alone anymore

Trapped in the room within my mind

Where the spaces of fear and past reside,

Is it woke

Seen through the false self smoke.

Off on another adventure I go

Looking in Rosebuds, beehives, leaves and views

You can come find me

In my mind.

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