Madness in Three Sections

This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.
Post Reply
ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Madness in Three Sections

Post by ray miller » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:08 pm

Before the water towers cracked,
from the smoke room to the kitchen hatch
he dished out arbitrary justice.
When his fists snatched too much liberty
the Charge Nurse and auxiliaries
would take him behind doors for a dusting.

The modern breed of nurse was bound
by codes to seek a middle ground,
or safe restraints to pacify;
they stung him with their well-placed jabs
that made him feel a lesser chap
than if he bartered eye for eye.

Now he’s Samson at the hair salon
and lacks insight of what has gone;
so much the better for his blindness.
Bedbound, he can but spit and bite
until the Philistines contrive
to kill him with the utmost kindness.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

User avatar
JJWilliamson
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3297
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 am

Re: Closet Tragedy

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:24 am

Great IT and rhymes, Ray, all the way through. Not a nit in sight.
ray miller wrote:Before the water towers cracked, ...Like the image. Not sure what it means, though.
from the smoke room to the kitchen hatch
he dished out arbitrary justice.
When his fists snatched too much liberty
the Charge Nurse and auxiliaries
would take him behind doors for a dusting. ...Was he knocked into place, rather than sedated?

The modern breed of nurse was bound
by codes to seek a middle ground,
or safe restraints to pacify;
they stung him with their well-placed jabs
that made him feel a lesser chap
than if he bartered eye for eye. ...You seem to be lamenting the removal/loss of his free spirit, a bit like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Now he’s Samson at the hair salon
and lacks insight of what has gone;
so much the better for his blindness. ...I like the irony. He's not better at all.
Bedbound, he can but spit and bite
until the Philistines contrive
to kill him with the utmost kindness. ...Quite the finish. The politically correct have contrived to finish him off, which runs counter to their original intent.
I like the way you present an argument for the "old methods", even though they seem a tad harsh. It leaves the recipient of this "method" with a degree of individuality and awareness. Depends how far the method is allowed to go, I suppose. Instinctively I recoil from the idea of giving someone a "dusting" but I did like where you took this.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by ray miller » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:06 pm

Thanks, JJ. I'm not making an argument for the old methods, any more than for the new ones. Just noting that in many places what used to be called Thump Therapy gave way to Drug Therapy and the results weren't dissimilar.
The water towers were symbolic of the old asylums - Enoch Powell and all that jazz.
Was he knocked into place, rather than sedated? - yes
You seem to be lamenting the removal/loss of his free spirit, a bit like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. - not so much free spirit, more manhood, dignity.
The final stanza imagines our chap in the stages of dementia.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

User avatar
Firebird
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2337
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by Firebird » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:19 pm

Hi Ray, just to let you know, I read this as neither for the old ways or the new, but maybe though as a comment on how polarised thing can become.

ray miller wrote:Before the water towers cracked,
from the smoke room to the kitchen hatch
he dished out arbitrary justice. (Not keen on ‘arbitrary justice’. It’s a bit worn out)
When his fists snatched too much liberty
the Charge Nurse and auxiliaries
would take him behind doors for a dusting.

The modern breed of nurse was bound
by codes to seek a middle ground,
or safe restraints to pacify;
they stung him with their well-placed jabs
that made him feel a lesser chap
than if he bartered eye for eye.

Now he’s Samson at the hair salon (nice line)
and lacks insight of what has gone; (perhaps ‘what’s gone on’?)
so much the better for his blindness.
Bedbound, he can but spit and bite
until the Philistines contrive (nice follow up from Samson)
to kill him with the utmost kindness.
Enjoyed.

Merry Xmas,

Tristan

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by ray miller » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:54 pm

Thanks, Tristan.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Antcliff
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6599
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:35 am
Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by Antcliff » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:06 pm

Greetings, Raymondo.
Best wishes to you and yours.

Good stuff. I especially liked the philistines comparison.

Nice rhymes....my favourite was justice/dusting and bite/contrive.

My only quibble. There was one point as which the form constraints felt as if they had forced something not quite right...
Now he’s Samson at the hair salon
and lacks insight of what has gone;
I have never heard "insight of". It feels as if the usual "insight into" has been cut for the purposes of removing a syllable. I say it feels that way, but I may have missed something which explains the choice. Anyway, thought I'd mention it.


Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by ray miller » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:08 am

Thanks, Seth, and Happy New Year to you. I'd probably shy away from "insight into", I don't like the double "in". You'd say that a dementia sufferer lacks knowledge of what has gone, perhaps, so it seems ok to me to say lacked insight of what has gone. Better even!
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Suzanne
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 4898
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:46 pm
antispam: no
Location: Land of the Midnight Sun

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by Suzanne » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:06 am

Hi Ray,

I think the title I great.

My favorite lines were the last four of the first section. Nice imagery and sound.

You've caught your subject so well.
I'm left feeling an endearment for this character. :)

Suzanne

ray miller
Perspicacious Poster
Perspicacious Poster
Posts: 6535
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Madness in Three Sections

Post by ray miller » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:15 am

Thanks, Suzanne. A pleasant surprise to hear from you. Hope you're well.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Post Reply