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POEM: Madonna Nera

A light which left and gathered in the eaves
Rough waking – weary slouching to unease
A voice that chides that no one ever sees
A flickering mirage of our best beliefs

Stale actions further frozen by degrees
Terrors sown that trash the flowers and trees
A choice of loss that every ill perceives
A cult that flays a gash on devotees

A future that is worse than death foresees.
Repetitions which become decrees
A mindless pain progressing mind’s disease
An outcast that may never ever please

A loss of mine and me beyond retrieve
The image lets the empty mirror seize.


I tried to write this poem after I watched Melvyn Bragg and Joanna Lumley, two of my contemporaries, wrestling with talking publicly about their ‘Nervous Breakdowns’. They struggled to report meaningfully. Mental Illness is one of the most difficult topics to put into words without descending into melodrama and self pity. 


Despite the difficulties, it is worth having a try. One of the worst aspects of this type of suffering is the sense of utter isolation. It is also vital to try to portray the potential for full recovery and the enlightenment that the experience can offer – you will have to consult my other writing to get a sense of that – hopefully.

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