Thursday, April 06, 2006
Songs of a Psychotic
In all my ebay hunting, I came across a very interesting book of poetry that I couldn't pass up. It's called "The Cliff's Edge-Songs of a Psychotic." It was written by a young lady in the 1950's during her stay at a mental institution. The introduction states that she was in one of the "nation's largest mental hospitals." I would love to know where she was exactly, but haven't had much luck finding her info online.
Most of the poetry was written when she was eighteen years old. Even in an altered mental state, it's hard to believe these thoughts and words came from someone so young.
Having seen my mother go through so much in mental institutions all my life, it has been very heart-rending to read her words. She speaks of very specific situations such as shock therapy (which my mom has been through several times) group therapy, and suicidal thoughts.
Here are a couple examples of her work that touched me.
Pendulum - Pulse
This is the rhythm of my life-
Unhurried swinging of a pendulum,
Marking with fatal pulse the season's round.
The spring outside means nothing;
For, to me,
Fear like the winter snow has frozen my heart.
And can it be that once again the hours,
Passing in cycle slow, will bring the flowers?
Or will Time's muffled drums beat out for me
A long death-march...into Eternity?
Lord, for the pain I cursed You for last night
I do most gladly offer thanks today...
For, not with pride but deep humility
In me, and by me, and through me, I find-You!
In my stripped loneliness, Your own imprisonment-
My bruises mark Your scourging; and the same
Rude jests ring in my ears that rand in Yours-
And round my aching head I seem to feel
Even today, the racking crown of thorns...
I too was bound-and, though I never died,
I was like You-my spirit crucified.