This page contains a selection of poetry written by women in the mental health and prison systems, some of which has been published in previous issues of the Wish newsletter.
If you would like to see more examples of women’s poetry, prose and artwork, back issues of the Wish newsletter can be downloaded from here.
Trust me I’m a Doctor
Trust me I’m a doctor, please come here with me,
I think I’ll have to lock you up and throw away the key,
You’re not behaving normally; I don’t know what to do
I’ve never actually met a case, that’s very strange like you.
I’ll make my diagnosis, when I’m satisfied
But when you want to talk to me, I’ll bugger off and hide.
If I say you’re manic, you must believe in me,
Coz I know what I’m doing, I’ve got my meds degree.
I’ll make you take some tablets, that rattle in your tum,
But if you refuse to take them, we’ll inject you in the bum.
And when you’re really settled, I’ll want to change my mind,
Diagnose you with an illness of a very different kind.
I’ll want to try some E.C.T as often as I can,
But not to worry if it fails I have a better plan,
There’ll always be some other pills, start on them tomorrow,
They’re rather large, and don’t taste nice, just shut your eyes and swallow;
And every week in my ward round, we’ll have a little talk.
And if we think you have behaved, we’ll let you have a walk.
But just be warned, if you run off, you won’t be on your jack,
Coz I’ll send you a nice policeman who will kindly bring you back.
But don’t despair, I’m here to help, I’ll have you on your way.
It’s June right now, but that’s too soon, how about next May?
I’ll always find more victims, so don’t you fret for me…..
I heard the door slamming,
From a tunnel beyond,
Sub-consciously I realised,
That another day had begun.
I opened my eyes and took a look around.
I was torn from sleep – a sweet dream.
I woke with a frown.
I’m awake! I didn’t move.
I stared at the ceiling above.
The voices that reached me gave no indication of love.
The space is confined, my possession not a lot,
But I hold each piece dearly, because it’s all that I’ve got.
I got up, washed, dressed, I prepared a cup of tea,
Then knelt for my morning prayers.
To ask God to protect me I desperately want to go outside, but I don’t have a key
It’s not in my powers to set myself free.
Que sera sera, whatever will be will be.
But prison! Is not a place,
I wish for neither you nor me.
“Psychiatric Utopia: The Snag”
All Patients conform exactly to the label given to them.
All patients display symptoms of paranoia at the treatment prescribed to them.
All patients sit wide awake in the day room and agree unanimously on the TV channel and pop music to be played at low volume.
As no patient displays counter side effects from medication and responds to it per manufacturer’s label (Therefore all patients are miraculously cured.)
All patients are physically fit.
No patient craves to smoke thereby providing a reason for non-cures.
All patients keep within their budget (hospital management does not overspend its budget).
Psychiatrists and Home Office appreciate long-suffering self-control of patients to achieve psyciatric utopia and agree to immediate release.
There is a snag somewhere. What is it?