‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ interrogates the original ideal that the asylum represented – a place of refuge, sanctuary and care – and asks whether and how it could be reclaimed. This blog series intends to showcase as many different voices and perspectives from people with lived experience of mental ill health and explore their ideas of personal asylum
This post is from Karim Harvey, an accomplished poet whose writing practice, in his own words, “heeds the decline of moral ambition, isolation and creative inclusion.”
Nearly forty years ago I spent time in an old asylum. The revolving door syndrome ensued. There was sparing hope for my condition, and enforced medication. The poem below relates to little wonder and physical confinement. The reality, the escape through the mind. And how recovery through the mental health maze can happen. Asking questions, still having the ability to dream.
In my early forties I was accepted for Gender Reassignment. Now many years later I live successfully in my role as a man. My journey is just beginning.
A refuge found is the harbinger of
the space between my ears
It is sanctuary cared for the
The asylum withering or a
The bolted doors less then
their closed minds
I wrote of the offal of my
I stayed practiced to the
I am not defined by Schizophrenia
I project it
All patrons have the need to clasp
The fantasy of life’s unreason
I call my vote for a party
Insane as their politics
The asylum who wonders where
Are mostly those who ask the
The question why
Karim is a poet who transcends mental health. Follow him on Twitter and read more of his poetry on his website.
‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond‘ is on until 15 January 2017.