2015-07-09

Days spent

A padded rooming house, earlier today...
Since Anger Bob was somewhat concerned with mental health, I was reminded about this one.

It's a bit old again, from 2010 I think, but stands up reasonable well against my current standards.  I might not say "himselves" now-a-days—it feels a bit coy.  (As I recall I hesitated at the time...)  Maybe also there are too many m-dashes.

This uses "hands" as a metaphor for the psychiatric staff.  It was only afterwards I was told that in the US "hands" is jargon for nursing auxiliaries.  I think the poem works well with or without this interpretation, however.

Administrative note: due to circumstances under my control, there will be no blog posting next week.  Talk amongst yourselves for a while.




Days spent

A hemmed head offers no escape
from the deftly padded rooming house—
sentinel cedars hedge it round.

Sometimes, in spite of care, he waxes
too strong for the watching hands—
needle-prick clouds breeding.

And on days too other, riddled
thoughts slam him sideways—
a soft wall to catch—no understanding

even for himselves. And days
spelunking and diving in the grey grains—
these days the hands call "good",

he does not know why. But perfect days,
they do exist, middling days drawn rarely—
everything balanced and in a place—

days playing to the gallery,
improvising on reality, insight,
variations on the theme of sanity—
even the hands applaud.

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