The Poetic Nursing Heart

The heartbeat of Montmartre 


The heartbeat of Montmartre 

When I was around 16 years old my parents took me to Montmartre.  I remember it all very vividly and for me, with my echo chamber of a nothingness mind, it is a key indication that this one was stored as a core memory.  

The bits that I remember most were standing in Sacre Coeur and just being more aware of a truly massive beauty – I had simply never been exposed to the scale of this wonder. The next was the small bustling artists courtyard and the stories I was told about this being a home for the group of artists, renegades, vagabonds and revolutionaries called the impressionists. Finally, I remember falling very much in love with a couple that were dancing. There was a small amphitheatre space cut into the banks of the river Seine where there were baroque dancers who were simply spellbinding to me.  

Coffee in Montmartre. 

 That’s a book right there.. oh no its a poem…Some days my mind wishes 

It dreams of a freedom 

To perform, the art of doing nothing. 

It’s a play this life 

you and I, i and u, 

On the stage 

Chatting about life 

Improving each and every night 

Total chaos 

But today. just for today… 

Today it was coffee  

In Montmartre 

Flirting with impressionists 

Catching the eye of the Avant-garde. 

All the days there is coffee 


The streets 







Walking to the scents of Paris 

Intoxicated, drunk and enraptured 

The art of à pied 

Caught by the movement of the dancers. 

The seine and the baroque 

Moving like a dream captured 

If only for a moment 

As we settle 


In black and white 



It poured. 

Like the heart 

Dancing, the drops fight and clatter 

We watch, absorbed 

Peaceful symphony 

Deafening the sound 

Of words and thoughts unsaid 


The lights, they wake. 

On the Seine 


Back at us 


No more 

There we rest 

Caught by nothing 

Aware of all 

Present and together 

In a daze 

Cuddling with symmetry of breath 

Dreaming of coffee in Montmartre 

That’s a wonderful moment 

A poem born true 

Recently I have had a small alumni profile done  and within it I was referred to as an artist. AN ARTIST??? I can’t see that this is a truth as the construction of the art was very much part of the process of understanding self. So much like my use of poetry and this blog space I see the cre8tive arts as rivers of consciousness that allow us to understand through the act of artistry. Abstract art has frequently baffled people, largely because it seems unrelated to the world of appearances. It poses difficulties of understanding and judgement, and calls into question the very nature of perception and of art. (Mosynska 2020). 

During the first wave of lock down (Covid 19), I had a chance to deconstruct and reconstruct a meaning for me as a person within society. I had recently been diagnosed with dyslexia and it had not helped in any way. I had a document that referred to me as limited, under average, deficits seen, may need assistance with. I have since re read the assessment and in parts there are positive correlations, but I was not able to see those as the flood of the imposter was too swift and I was left drowning in black and white words and numbers 156, 72 56, above or below significant gaps… so I needed to make that paper something I could interpret and the information I could own. 

 That’s where the gallery of the true self within was Born. On my coffee table. with paper and water and tears. I slowly cut up the pages and the words breaking them down to pulp. Making a live art with others. Although these stories of others are not legible to the viewer, these words, tears, and elements make the paper alive, almost panpsychism born within the lived consciousness. This artwork is now a central theme in my PHD and will be a focal image in the upcoming play the table of consciousness. I hope to make the play a touring piece that develops as it tours. Like a relationship as it ages.  

The image below is ‘Trauma’ the decision to kill the image with black was a direct response to oppression felt within learning and the recent assessments. I was tired of the power of the ink bound words and so killed them in their own power drowning the image in black ink. This is heavily linked to the work of Kierkegaard, Camus, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. What we struggle to know is the boundless delights of the creative true self. Something I am looking to shed a research light on in my career moving forward.  

On a recent trip to the National Gallery, I found the work of Degas, Turner, Van Gogh, and Monet and what I feel is the art of something, the light, the trees, the Chair, the waterlilies. I was so happy to find the space and peace to explore this with my two boys and my wife and to then share in the experience of likes and dislikes. But the Chair by Van Gogh stayed with me. I later found out it was a paired painting with Gaugin’s and was a representation of personalities in objects.

This painting of a simple chair set on a bare floor of terracotta tiles is one of Van Gogh’s most iconic images. It was painted in late 1888, soon after fellow artist Paul Gauguin had joined him in Arles in the south of France. The picture was a pair to another painting, Gauguin’s Chair (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam). They were to be hung together, with one chair turned to the right, the other to the left. 

Both chairs function as surrogate portraits, representing the personalities and distinct artistic outlooks of the two artists. While Van Gogh’s chair is simple and functional, Gauguin’s is an elegant and finely carved armchair. Van Gogh’s chair, on which he placed his pipe and tobacco, is shown in bright daylight. Gauguin’s, with two novels on its seat, was painted at night and is illuminated by a candle and gas light. 

My co-writer for this blog is a wonderful light and an exceptional student who immediately when asked to co-write reflected a loved of the Nietzschean void and a real drive to know self. Some would say I found my Gaugin in an afternoon of reading about the values of art in learning. She beautifully describes a piece of art as having this known but unsaid depth.  

The blended colours and faint pod like shapes within the surrounding oils, represent the emergence of self, maturity, and success from the humble state of beginnings. The hue and flow of colours representing the materialisation of possibilities once the nurse becomes assertive and develops her voice. The larynx stands larger and higher than the figure, heart, and brain, to indicate the significance of its development. The shades of yellow and orange encircle the larynx, to signify the organ as a torch of light (inspired by the torch of the statue of liberty and by Florence Nightingale “the lady with the lamp”), a tool which may lead and guide others through its warmth, it’s light, it’s power and brightness.


We stumble into a danger zone full of roadblocks, red lights, and stop signs when we perceive art as a set of rules and regulations. 

I understand perspective within a painting relies on measurement and certain technicalities. 

But is not perspective simply subjective? 

ART is creativity and creativity is a principle like that of Love. A simple paradox of uninhibited complexities. Knowable, yet unknowing. 

A reflection of the macrocosmic universal intelligence – that which some call God, and which others need not name at all. 

Abstract, mystical, classical, infantile. 

All encompassing, but that which we cannot perceive in its wholeness. 

Conforms to none, but serves all. 

This is ART. 






Like water; the elixir of life, ART is a perpetuation of ebb and flow, adaption, absorption, and release. Sculpted, yet sculpts. It can raise you up in a moment and drown you in the next. 

Over time, many a psychoanalyst have tried to define ART. They have tried to compartmentalise its existence, and pigeon hole its trends and elements. But, by doing so, is ART not then insulted by the human instinct to control? Is it not then misunderstood by categorical restriction, transported to that danger zone afore mentioned? 

At its most empowering ART is fearless, rebellious, unashamed; it gives no fucks. 

ART: a gift bestowed upon us, a conduit for emotion, mind and word. 

A communicative philosophy, which speaks infinite and bespoke languages to each of its makers and lookers. 

Actively open to interpretation, self-sacrificing to subjection and judgement. 

Yet, it is neither right nor wrong. 

We are each a creation, thus, we each encompass an ability to create. 

Yet the fear to indulge one’s creativity leads to a life of missed opportunity and a lot less colour. 

To me, ART just is. 

Always has been. 

Always will be. 

It’s whatever I want it to be. 

It’s whatever you want it to be. 

I offer you this question… 

What prevents YOU from creating? 

Strip away the false concept of perfection, strip away the patriarchal saturated psychoanalysis, and there you will find your freedom. 

If you want to paint, paint! 

If you want to dance, dance! 

If you want to scribble and scratch a biro into a bright green post-it-note, then do so! 

Do it! 

Own it! 

Express it! 



The invite was unexpected but proposal desirable. The table at Mr Hatters it seemed, laid on a tea party just for me. However, from distant spouts we poured words, not earl grey. 
A lacuna in the matrix of time allowing for connection, collaboration and a mutual passion of art. A chance to intertwine creative mind-space and overlay fabrics of two inner worlds. A chance, maybe, to dance with a stranger under moonlight from afar. 
My gratitude extends to Tom for asking me to sit at his table. 
Creatives are typically creatures of freedom and liberation, thus, judgement, though frequently bestowed upon them, is rarely bestowed amongst them. Each accepts the other’s uniqueness simply for what it is. 
It’s an unwritten unconditional rule for creatives to respect another’s ART. The mutual understanding that there is no right nor wrong. There just is. 
From the platter offered to me, I gladly received the Hatter’s artistic overture. Returned it in a timely manner, full of the fruit of my heart and a little of my head. 
Tom’s desire of all things ART. is contagious. To sit at his table for this tea party – indeed, the pleasure was all mine. 
Thank you Tom. 

Karla Hamlet (student nurse) 


The Hatter has found his Alice


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