A local nurse with a literary side-line has published his second collection of original poetry.
His new collection is described as displaying ‘a sense of loss, but not morbidly so’ and aims to ‘to shine light on this experience of being’. The collection is heavily inspired by his 39 years of service to the NHS.
The centrepiece is ‘Sonnets of a Hospital Lift’ which tells the story of death and dying in a NHS hospital. A twist in the tale comes as the lift itself is revealed to be a sentient being, telling the stories it has witnessed.
Mel McEvoy, 62, was born in Liverpool and now lives in Darlington. He said: “This collection is particularly important and a joy because it tries to capture the emotional impact of working with patients in the NHS.
“It’s proudly dedicated to health professionals delivering end of life care.”
‘Wading into the Light’, is described by Irish poet Siobhan Campbell as a collection ‘that brims with humanity… these are poems that by turns will make you laugh and cry’.
The book was formally launched at Newcastle’s renowned Lit and Phil Library on Monday 3 October at 7pm.
Mel’s new collection is published by specialist poetry company Red Squirrel Publishing.
Below is a sample of Mel’s poetry – The Muscle in the Heart of the NHS
The muscle in the heart of the NHS, a poem by Mel McEvoy
You have come to the blue from all walks of life with your faiths, customs and languages making the NHS echo with accents.
The N is the necessity to give of your best and gently comfort, at the end of life.
The H is for your hands, a stranger’s touch, taking blood, making patients feel they belong.
The S is for your skills, mature, experienced, researched, focused on patients.
You have come to the blue where feet walk for miles around beds, along corridors, giving out medicines, looking for the vulnerable in each shift.
Covid twists loose emotions and stretches to the limits fibres until they tear.
Patients and their relatives see: you treat people in the way you want to be treated; and in these waters, we are all trying to stay afloat.
You have come to the blue and today it asks: leave your home and enter into the danger of what you breathe, not knowing if you’ve become a carrier.
Be cautious and wear protection.
Be compassionate but remember you are not invincible. Be open to discovering the nuances of being a human.
Your family need to hear the turn of your key in the door. Bring home the heart of what you’ve been a part of.
In this service ask for grace from a God you do or don’t believe in. You are the blue in the swell of the storm, powerless from the loss of what once felt secure, tossed among its waves.
Patients, sometimes couples, holding hands in isolation. Dying without any warning, after saying they were feeling better.
No preparation, within hours of each other.
Texting ‘Good Bye’ to families. Entering each room, all you can do is swim through and back up to the surface.
Uncover your own words. Be kind to each other. Do what you can for the people you are trying to bring ashore.