“As patron of the Queens Nursing Institute, Her Majesty thanks you so much for your poignant verses…”
(Letter from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting Philippa DePass)
We are delighted that Necklace of Stars poet Neil Sessions has been commended by Buckingham Palace for his poem giving tribute to NHS nurses during the pandemic. It was the first poem he read to Phil in their first Necklace of Stars phone conversations – and now his work bears the seal of royal approval. Phil’s notes from the cheery conversation give a flavour of Neil’s mood: “Royal consent! But I’m not going to be big headed about it. I’m biting my lip as I tell you…”
NHS nurses I call you little angels That shone so bright As you stood by your patients On those warm summer nights Words have no meaning As life was slipping by But there was love and compassion As the nights whispered by May each nurse remember How they helped them Slip into that heavenly night With their last breath we all say good night. This is why you carry a halo So you can shine some more To help all the sick people That need your love and warmth. Thank you God bless you all. Neil Sessions
“I’m very uplifted to be acknowledged by the Queen for this poem, it’s a big honour. The poem has appeared in newspapers and magazines and online and all sorts. It is my way of thanking the nurses who look after us all. They bring you into the world and it’s often a nurse who holds your hand when you finally say goodbye. Many people who’ve had Covid describe the nurses as angels. This poem is meant for the nurses who don’t hear the NHS clapping or words of thanks – because they’re still too busy working. It’s passing on appreciation, from the heart. I’ve put a lot of heart into my poems because I’ve needed to, its my way of finding release and of reaching out to people.”
A Necklace of Stars, working with older people in Derbyshire, is supported by Arts Council England, Arts Derbyshire, DCC Public Health and Derbyshire County Council Home Library Service. This project is particularly aimed at countering isolation; during the pandemic we’ve been working using distance methods – phone conversations and post.