On madness and society

(NOTE – This is not a critique on psychiatry as a whole. I wrote this after watching a documentary on Broadmoor Hospital)

 

Madness, insanity,

a deviation from perceived normality.

Non compus mentus; no longer ‘in the room’,

for modern man no longer speaks

to those for whom the brain is a tomb

or those who wish to return to the womb

and be cosseted in a private, maternal cocoon.

 

Who among us can deem such behaviour as purely insane

when to wish for escape is the object of most games

from which there are those who return and those who remain?

Perhaps madness in this sense depends on who is giving the name.

Perceptions on this constantly change,

that which we understand to be normal may someday seem strange

and what to us seems deranged has, over time been exchanged

and rearranged as medical knowledge and public opinions interchange

in the slow, bloated arguments raging like an alien storm

in a microscopic marble so out of our control that we hasten to add

“whom Jupiter wishes to destroy he first sends mad”.

 

Madness: quick, easy label or flippant remark,

the explanation of a “moment” in a south London park,

not often enough used of those who believe in The Ark

or who think that the devil may lurk in the dark

and perhaps indeed it does for perhaps that devil is us

and we dance in the dark to the sound of Pan’s flute

or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?

 

A bridge – mid-construction – between madness and reason,

burning with an eruption of complete incohesion;

a rupture in dialogue, a pact we have broken,

as we forget imperfect words so falteringly spoken

in an admittedly imperfect attempt to act, to honour the pact,

to aid and understand with compassion and tact.

Because the fact is that courage we lacked,

as the physician tries awkwardly not to distract

backing shyly away and unable to react.

 

The vacuum that follows, psychiatry fills;

a monologue by reason about madness and its ills

uttered by ones highly educated who pick up their quills

and write “the patient exhibits a symptom that fulfils…”

on a swiftly filled prescription for a dosage of pills

that drown out the voices, the screams, the chills,

the blood that rains from the sky covering the hills,

caring nothing for madness, merely paying the bills

 

of a society too scared to notice the fire

that rages around anyone who tries to inspire

a change to the reactionary ways we acquire

to rid from sight and mind those who distract from our deep-rooted desire

to spread the madness of fear and build Broadmoor’s walls higher,

containing the madness silently sweeping the entire modern world that ignores the town crier

with eyes closed and backs turned from enlightenment’s funeral pyre.

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