Ten poems of empathy to share with the world
Never before has the skill of having empathy been more important.
If the impact that this last six months has had on all of us has taught us one thing, it’s that the ability to put yourself in someone else’s place, see through their eyes, walk in their shoes - however you want to put it - is going to be key when assembling the new ‘normal’ that we crave so much ’Post COVID’
June 9th was a day to celebrate that skill as it was Empathy Day.
Organised by EmpathyLab, who are a fantastic organisation I’ve been working with over the past year to encourage the use of great stories to encourage empathy in young people, it was a real festival of sharing - with the poetry community offering its fair share of wonderful words.
You can find out more about EmpathyLab here - www.empathylab.uk
Here are ten of the best - a mere selection of those pieces posted online during the day including one from yours truly.
They are wide ranging and often tackle some difficult issues, but all contain that ability to think and feel from other people’s perspective - or remind us that community is truly the most treasured thing we have.
1. Coral Rumble
This first offering from Coral Rumble (@RumbleCoral) looks at life from the view of a young person dealing with a relative who has dementia. It explores those heartbreaking moments when memories may have become ‘locked inside’
2. Geneviève Walsh
Next up is everyone’s favourite rock and roll goth poet, Geneviève Walsh (@genwalshpoet), with a piece that tickled the literary taste buds in a host of ways - but encouraged us if nothing else to share what’s on our plate.
3. Neal Zetter
Neal Zetter‘s (@nealzetterpoet) offering for the day was a visual piece that touched upon the subject of divorce from the point of view of a child and really got to grips with how it must feel for anyone ‘stuck in the middle’
4. Liz Brownlee
Liz Brownlee (@lizpoet) was hugely prolific on the day, becoming a hub for Retweeting empathy to all (Empathy is definitely Liz’s bag!)
This is one of my favourites of those she shared on the day - giving light to the daily life of someone very removed from the world of you and me sitting here enjoying poetry on our sofas.
5. Rose Condo
The prairie Poet herself, Rose Condo (@prairiepetal) is always full of colour and smiles - plus as author of the award winning stage show ’The Empathy Experiment’ should know a thing or two about the subject. This wonderful rainbow piece really brought a grin to my face.
6. Dominic Berry
Someone else who is also full of rainbows and exuberance is the brilliant Dommy B (@thepoetdominic) who decided that Empathy Day was a perfect day to celebrate with all his friends down the virtual pub in the form of a triolet. Very posh!
7. Joshua Siegal
After the pub, we headed over to Joshua Siegal’s (@joshuasiegal) place - for one of the most widely shared poems of the day. It’s not surprising- it focused on the one thing I’m certain many of us have been craving from those we love from the last three months - a hug.
8. Chris White
Chris White (@chriswhitepoet) kept things simple and to the point - offering a definition of just what empathy really means - that process of being able to see something from someone else’s perspective and be a real human being.
9. Sue Hardy Dawson
Poets always love to look at things from different angles (no wonder they’re so good at using empathy!) and Sue Hardy Dawson (@suehardydawson) was no exception! Her ‘lack of empathy poem’ reminded us that it causes tension when we don’t use it!
10. Paul Jenkins
And finally - we get to me. (@teacherwriterPJ)
I decided to put myself back in my fourteen year old shoes. Geeky me (who is still me) struggled to talk about relationships and I often used to revert to fantasy stories to play out the bravery I never had.
I’m sure there are still plenty of Peter Parkers out there who might appreciate this.
So there you have it - ten poets, ten voices and a whole host of words to enjoy. Let’s make every day an Empathy Day!