Ripples in Circles

Ripples in Circles is a book of poems created by Hertfordshire County Council employer Graham Duff, who worked with Sunnyside trainees to produce the content. The magical environment of the Grand Union Canal inspired the poems and artwork.

The idea for the collection was twofold: to be a beneficially creative process for the Sunnyside Rural Trust poets and to encourage Council and NHS employees to explore their immediate environments in more mindful, therapeutic ways.

Part of Sunnyside’s central ethos is to enhance the amount of freedom, dignity and independence, which people with learning disabilities have. This poetry collection adheres closely to this primary focus, giving the individuals we work with a creative, autonomous voice, which has led to the most powerful and touching poetry.

Local artist Jonathan Killick kindly donated beautiful watercolour paintings of the Grand Unions canal for the poetry book.

Creating the booklet gave those who are often defined by what they can’t do, an opportunity to show us how they can wrap us in their imaginative visions and passionate inspirations. Their words are a testament to each of their individual personalities and experiences – let them take you on their walk down the canal so you might make yours.


Swans floating
across the water
relaxing, happy.

Wet dogs
excited when they shake
fluffy balls, happy.

Walking tired
coffee factory smell

by Gemma Milner

To Our Mum

Ripples in circles
fish go in again.
Canal boat smoke
reminds me of happy times with my mum;
Railway Children together,
the heartbeat train in Yorkshire.

Daises small like perfumes
popping heads out
from winter to summer.
Out of the grass
out of the sun
watering now.

Crunchy gravel,
the dogs jumping.
The gardens beautiful
but too small for children.
Graffiti reflects all spray,
wearing away – clever mess.

by Claire & Catherine Newis