In June the Isolation and Loneliness in Older People project in Merthyr Tydfil began an 8 week engagement process that has involved meeting with various older people’s groups in the North Merthyr community. The artists are clare e. potter, Poet, Colum Sanson-Regan, Writer and Musician, and Nigel Pugh, Photographer. The group’s main aims have been to build connections, to encourage debate about loneliness and isolation and to work with individuals to tell their stories either about their experiences of loneliness and isolation or their experiences of working to overcome loneliness and isolation within the community.

For the launch the team went on a walk with the Dowlais Walking Group from Butetown, Rhymney, to Brynbach Park. Below are some of the photographs taken by Nigel and poems written by Clare that both reflect on the photographs and record Clare’s own observations.

Setting Off

In a line like pilgrims, each

with our silent prayers,

on this patch we catch

offerings of long gone walkers;

do their thoughts remain

in this air? Look how the cow

breaks from grazing, chewing

over something, taking pause

full of curiosity; like us. Sacred

and ordinary.

Having a Whiff

We can only cross the bridge one-at-a-time;

this is how it is.

Some linger, mid-way, a hand rests on the wood

stability so the mind can consider depths

below; thoughts settle somewhere

and we breathe, and move on.


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