Created during a deeply unhappy period of Hopkins’ life, these six poems arise from ‘a languishment of body and mind’. Yet they also give readers, including Christopher and his patient Frances, glimpses of Hopkins’ unimpeachable honesty, of the legitimacy of distress, and a sense of connection, of shared experience. They encourage us to observe our emotions rather than be overwhelmed by them, enable our determination to survive come what may, and the flowering of self-compassion.

Christopher Dowrick is Emeritus Professor in the University of Liverpool and a general practitioner in Aintree Park Group Practice, Liverpool. He is also Chair of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA) working party for mental health. His research portfolio covers common mental health problems in primary care, with a focus on depression and medically unexplained symptoms, and the needs of people from marginalised communities. He has published five books and over 250 research papers. He is currently writing a book exploring the ways in which literary reading can enable people considering suicide to stay alive.