Poetry, Video and MusicA Phoenix Flock, 2021

A fire precipitated my breakdown, compounded by the separations of lockdown. Nature helped me heal, especially watching birds. Even on bad days, I could see them flying. Distilling thoughts into the smaller, purified haiku form helped focus my creative process, signposted by 100 different birds. Watching became healing became poetry: 100 days of haiku, a phoenix flock. Squeezing stories into few words meant concentrating on essentials and helped reassess what these essentials really were. Mental health has been another casualty of the pandemic. This piece gives hope. We can watch birds and remember flight, remember freedom and what potential means; we can place unformed thoughts into shapes – rules of poetic form give room to explore, one tiny step at a time. Hidden words display an inner strength, a willingness to heal, harnessed through creativity. I shared this process online during the 100 Days Project Scotland 2021 and saw how it moved people. Combining the personal stories, the words being handwritten and the addition of my own music, the birds came to me: song, flight, presence in the lives of others. And healing. A hidden message revealed: healing and hope – the phoenix flight – combine in the final film.