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Out of Isolation: writing to help us reflect on life during the pandemic

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Two years on from the UK going into lockdown, writer Susie Coreth shares her poem, Be Still, My Restless Mind, to help us reflect on life during the pandemic.

The poem has been published as part of Susie’s new anthology, Out of Isolation (Unicorn), which brings together a wide-range of writing from the pandemic.

The anthology features entries from famous names, including Julian Fellowes, Tom Felton and Derren Brown, as well as historians, travel authors, poets, screenwriters, actors, the Dean of Canterbury and a junior doctor.

Since the start of the pandemic, Shout's daily conversations with children, young people and adults in distress have trebled. In recognition of continued high demand for the service, £1 from the sale of each book will generously be donated to support Shout.

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Susie Coreth, writer and curator of Out of Isolation, said:

“It became hugely apparent through conversations with family, friends and acquaintances during the pandemic that these past two years have had an enormous effect on our mental health and, therefore, services such as Shout must be under increased pressure.

"Out of the difficult situation we've all faced, I wanted to create something positive that could also be used to raise money for a vital charity. 'Out of Isolation' is the result.”

Out of Isolation by Susie Coreth (published by Unicorn) is available to buy now from Bookshop.org, Waterstones, Amazon and other leading retailers.

£1 from the sale of each book will generously be donated to support Shout.

Thank you Susie for your incredible support 💙

Be Still, My Restless Mind

By Susie Coreth

If stillness be the mind at peace

And restlessness can ever cease,

If calmness be the utmost goal

And streams of thought that tire the soul

Can end, I am in want; I seek

A way to still a mind thatʼs weak

To spins: it is a thought cyclone,

It hunts for roughened paths to roam,

It turns and twists, itʼs high, itʼs low,

Itʼs reckless in its restless show,

Erratic, up and side to side,

Constantly swimming against the tide;

Itʼs fitful, jumping all over the place,

From happy to sad, from earth to space,

It wants to run away, be wild;

It is a drifting, fidgety child

Longing to find a place to play

To while away a disruptive day,

The child wants windswept fields, trees

And sky-blue reflections on rippling seas,

Wants mountain paths on which to climb;

That child holds on to this restless mind.

Wandering, lost or not lost at all

But searching, seeking a purpose, a call,

Or not seeking, but hoping for something else –

A different path, a greater self.

Is there an answer? What do I need?

Are you, my mind, just full of greed

For all things in this beautiful world,

So remain in this restless swirl?

Be still, I ask, be quiet and still,

To contemplate my heart at will

And not get lost amongst the crowd

Of thoughts that scream so very loud.

And yet, they are my beating heart,

They are my paints, they are my art,

And in the alcoves, buried deep

This artwork’s purely mine to keep,

It may be rotten, rough with dirt,

Filled with colour enriched with hurt,

But this canvas (once loved by me),

Shall hold my self eternally,

Up and down in painted thought,

Perpetual onslaught, stop; I ought

To throw this canvas that I find

And still my restless mind.

Only in stillness will I find

A way to calm my restless mind,

The mind in need of compassion and peace

And yet the butterflies won’t cease,

Or will they? A moment of quiet. And then

The vultures are ready to fly again,

An endless cycle, a dreamer’s curse,

Though, in truth, there’s so much worse;

How lucky to have a mind that’s free

To go wherever it wants to be,

Quite so, how fortunate am I,

My mind dances ’cross starlit skies,

Iʼll let it dance all through the night,

Come morning, itʼll be alright.

Come morning, itʼll be alright,

It dances more in darkened night,

Dancing, sleepless, thoughts, time,

Be still, my ever-restless mind,

Perpetuate a kinder self,

Put doubts forever on the shelf

And any negativity:

You are of no use to me.

Calmness, I will find, be kind,

Be still, my restless mind.

For more information, advice and support around looking after your mental wellbeing and the Covid-19 pandemic, check out our resources.