Blog,  Poem,  Poetry,  Prayer and Reflections

A Boat for a Heart all at Sea- a tribute to our NHS heroes

I spent my day today making this little carving. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I spent A LOT of my day today making it. I did some other things too. One of those things was to spend a couple of hours with a group of NHS workers who tend to the most vulnerable people in our society, often caring for them through to their deaths. These guys are heroes. I have the privilege of leading them in some mindfulness and meditation, focusing on keeping them together as they go about their work that often sees them all at sea, working in systems that are complex and doing work that is stressful yet essential. I am in awe of these guys and honoured to be part of caring for them.


The way they approach their work is something to behold. None of them have to do this work. They have opted in and opted to stay in the team they are now part of, having come from other areas of healthcare in order to do their bit in the fight against Covid-19. However, having met a couple of dozen of these people over the last two weeks it feels wrong to write about them in the negative- as in fighting against. They are much more positive- they are fighting for. They are fighting for older people. They are fighting for the dignity of life. They are fighting for compassion and love. They are, in short, what we should all be about. My friend is their team leader and I am so proud of him. I’d tell you his name but he is too humble a man to want that and he values the confidentiality of his service and service users far above his own need to be recognised- another hero. 

Anyhow, when I came home after my session this morning, I set about making this carving. I had posted the original version of this, which I made a few years ago, as a picture to accompany my blog yesterday. I had originally carved it as I wrote a poem. The idea for both the poem and the carving were the same- the search for solace in uncertain times. It seems to me appropriate that I would dedicate both the poem and this little carving to those people I met today and to all our NHS heroes who are in themselves sources of solace for so many in these uncertain times. They are boats for hearts all at sea. Here is the poem:


A Boat for a Heart All at Sea


When the waves come

As they will, as they must

And you find your heart

Tossed and turned, all at sea

Arms flailing

All worry and panic




Rest for a while

Allow the waves

To take you where they will




Calm your beating heart

Your constant doing




Feel still

And in the stillness

Clarity will come, dawning



And with it, a boat

Carried by boisterous waves

Though gliding as if carefree

Atop the stormy seas



For you


For you


To climb in


And, once aboard

Your heart, too

Will glide, as if carefree

While all around

The waves,

As they will, as they must

Roll and crash with

Foam and fury


Friends now

Not destroying, but


Bringing boats for

Hearts all at sea


From my book, Gym for the Soul, published by New City. You can find out more here.



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