These poems were written by my brother who died on the 22nd April 1977. He was wrapped up in the psychiatric system and had been on medication for several years. One day just before his death he asked me the question “Do you think psychiatric medication works?” I always being honest with him said “No!”. Then he planned his death, sold his record collection and his few possessions and wrote these poems. I added to my answer to his question that you never knew and there might be new meds in the future that work. During the 1970s doctors used to prescribe large amounts of medication. He told my late father what he planned to do the night he died and that he had no way out and my dad witnessing his despair and suffering told my brother not to talk about it but to do it.
Yoyoing up and down with his mental health he spent a lifetime in and out of Gaskell House in Manchester a small unit for psychiatric users in Manchester. Everyone knows of someone who has taken their own life and I and my son have also had suicide attempts. I wonder where is the hope for people like us?
My brother would have been 62 this August if he had survived and I ask myself if he was still alive what answer would I have given to his question today?
Here are David’s poems:
When we were kids and played together
And laughed and ran in sunny weather
We didn’t care about the trials of life
We didn’t know about the pain of strife
The sun always shone and the rain never fell
And I remember the stories which we would tell
Of pirates and treasures and far away lands
The music of Christmas, the big brass bands
Now we’re grown up and drifting apart
And there’s sadness in my heart
But I will always remember you as a little girl
And the funny way your dress would twirl
Your shining hair that you would touch
Oh how I loved you so very much!
(this poem he wrote about my sister and they were very close)
COMING OF AGE
Let the rain pour and the wind cry
But let your happiness reach the sky
You laugh and cry and make a joke
And we know you are the joy of folk
You fill each life with endless bliss
And you seal it with a tender kiss
Just care about your friends and especially yourself
And then you’ll never end up on the shelf
Think about tomorrow as well as today
Will you be unhappy? NO WAY!
(this poem David wrote about my sister’s best friend Lorraine)
POEM FOR A PRINCESS
I see you in my mind’s eye
A beautiful woman of whom I cannot lie
And when your golden tresses cascade in the light
It does not take all of my might
To worship my every simple delight
As I wish to hold you in the midst of night
Give me but a second, oh serene creature
To contemplate your every feature
Your bright blue eyes, your lips as red as wine
Your perfect roundness of every line
Give me one hint of your feelings towards me
Of those closely hidden thoughts so far away to see?
Oh dream of the night, and the vision of day
Tell me you love me I dearly pray
And by and by I will tell you why
You resemble so much a star in the sky
For as my time quickly passes away
I sorrowfully think of the day
When my mind and my heart can no longer behold
Your beautifully crowned hair of gold
(David wrote this for his ex girlfriend 23rd March 1977 she left him for another)
Dear Sad Lady, if only you had a penny
For every single hurt and pain you have experienced
You would certainly be the richest lady
On this cruel and cold atom we call earth
Your mind is so fragile and yet as strong as the hardest diamond
And the morning slowly opens your eyes and soul
To more and worse agonies which only you can see and feel
But let these dark shadows beware
For their very tempting will be their own executioner
And the light will flow like a torrential sea
Into the whirlpool of your thoughts
And you will find peace and happiness
In your beautiful and yet so sad mind!
(David wrote this about me when I had ended an affair with a man that went wrong before I met my husband of 33 years. He wrote it in the Winter of 1976. Around the time he asked me that question about medication)
Betwixt night and day you will find me when my heart doth pray
My very soul torn between the reality of logic
And the illogical forces which my heart doth obey
Give me a while until I set my mind at rest
For what good is love in one person’s mind
Against the evils which people manifest
Or sorrows in their lives which they do find
I seek the Lord’s power within me but find it not
Have I touched upon that lonesome road to hell?
Is mine one of those that he forgot?
If so, where am I who can tell?
I must be on that dark and lonesome road I know so well!
THE JUDGMENT DAY
The word could be heard a billion miles away
As the child lay speaking in the hay
He was heralding the coming of the Judgement Day
And telling us the direction in which our souls should sway
None could tell us more clearly the way
Or whom our hearts and mind should obey
He handed it to us on a simple wooden tray
So remember your time is over on that Judgement Day!
(David believed in Jesus and life after death. I wish my son believed in him too. But I am praying for guidance that my son won’t take his own life just like David and so many others that do this today including children.)