Psychiatric Hospital

Starched white linen, 'NHS Calder Vale'
Embroidered on the duvet, the towels,
The pillow slips, each bed filed
In ungainly rows like a regiment of tears
History has forgotten, the locked doors of the nurses
Who watch out through strenghtened glass.

I have been here four times now.
Sometimes the casual nurse sets out the hypdermic
Filled with blue lorazepam to lessen the shock, and
They had out coloured pils at 9:00.
Everyone sleeps at 10.

And the white arch of the ECT room
Looks almost appealing until the joules
Become apparant, Lyndsey after six bolts
Cannot remember her name or the time of day.
And down on Darwen at midnight Shaun
Howls like a bansee, the voices
Too temperamental to ignore.

I will become wedded to this place:
It will heighton my soul in so many ways...
Or destroy it which is the same thing.
Here one can rest in elaborate lunacy;
Here one can be forgotten.

And that gracious god Dr Sultana
Will measure out my life with wave after wave
Of pills and jabs, his jibberish colouring
The way he regards me, I measuring out
My days on a Trent Bridge calendar, each day
One day nearer sanity and the free
Expression of speech which is not mad
And which is not bad but which is me,
A lost soul amidst all the others,

My superego not knowing what the hell
My id is doing.

John Cornwall

If you've any comments on this poem, John Cornwall would be pleased to hear from you.