Monday, June 22, 2009

Doorway to Hell

On a recent holiday to the Murray River area we visited an old Mental Asylum, which is now a very pleasant University Campus site. This Dungeon has been preserved.


Your body may be sick;
It is treated.
Your mind may be sick;
It is treated.
There is no differentiation.
Pills, injections,
Above all there is sympathy.
But go back two hundred years
To a Mental Asylum
In New South Wales.
These steps,
This door
Would have struck terror to your very soul.
Maybe you awoke
In a grey mist of uncertainty.
Who am I?
Where am I?
Maybe I am not here at all!
Maybe someone asked you something.
Maybe someone brushed up against you.
Maybe someone looked at you in a strange way.
Maybe you were made to eat unpleasant food.
For whatever reason
You cracked!
The whole world exploded
In a bewildering array
Of flashes,
Sensations you could not describe.
To escape, you flailed your arms,
Yelled abuse.
The well-meaning attendants were powerless
Against your devilish strength!
Several of them pinioned your arms,
Tied you in a straight-jacket,
Frog-marched you to the steps,
To The Door.
And locked you in.
There, in the dark
You suffered alone.
Until reason prevailed.
Or until you died.
Be thankful.


Robin said...

Wow, we do need to be thankful. Thank you for this post.

How very

Mari Meehan said...

Sometimes I think things are much the same in far more subtle ways.

Kat said...

eye opener on mental asylum's then.

and a prudent comment by Dogwalkmusings. Sounds true.

Unknown said...

you gave me a bit of a chill with this one. i am thankful indeed!

Brian Miller said...

ugh...have been to one before...and have commited a few kids to the psych ward...a far cry from then, but...and they would sometimes sterilize or lobotomize...ugh...

Anonymous said...

Gruesome image...hell indeed. Vb

Elizabeth Young said...

I agree with Dogmusings that we havn't come as far as some would think (an excellent poem by the way!) As someone who is a consumer of the mental health system in Canada I have been part of nightmarish situations trying to get medication and have often been stigmatized by the unkind remarks of others. People still think that mental illness is something one has a choice about. Who would be foolish enough to wish it?!

Kavita said...

Oh wow! You certainly took me to a dark and scary place with this one, Brenda.. but you sure did it in style!! After reading this, I am just glad I am not there... the very thought of being chained and overpowered is horrifying... and to add to it, the idea of "not being sure".... brrr... REALLY SCARY!

Excellently and very effectively portrayed, my friend..

Glynn said...

It wasn't just New Zealand. Similar things happened ina ll the "civilized" countries.

Dark, good poem.

Olivia said...

The words played vividly across my vision and boy, was that dark?

Indeed, we have a lot to be thankful about.
You have sketched a very strong image!

Frog-marched you to the steps- well expressed..

Peace n hugs xx