Time To Stand – A Brief Call To Arms

 

Image

Those who champion the cause of private, insurance-based healthcare, as opposed to free at the point of need NHS, should look at the example of insurers where a non-profitable risk exists.

I speak of flood insurance for people on a flood plain – it is becoming exorbitantly expensive, and may disappear altogether. For a while it looked like governments would continue to require insurance companies to provide such cover, but this was deemed anti-competitive. It violated the free market.

Directly similar, those who are in poor health will not be able to afford, or even get, health insurance, and will therefore suffer appallingly. To legislate for compulsory provision by insurance companies will also be a violation of ‘free market principles’.

 

Is that what we want in this affluent, cash-rich society of ours? The old and the sick denied proper care, denied basic human decency, freedom from pain?

 

Such things should not be part of a civilised society.

Such things should be thrown into the bin of history, at which memory we should all shudder.

 

Profit will not deliver universal care.

The two are totally incompatible, and diametrically opposed to each other. Money can only serve money; it cannot have two masters. It may well be a good misquote: you cannot serve man and mammon.

 

Fight for your country’s honour and decency, not by killing families in Iraq, Aghanistan, but rather by refusing – loudly and forcefully – to support those who wish to plunge this country into shame and dishonour.

 

If you do not fight, this will be our legacy to the children – fear of illness.

 

Fight.

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Sunday Bloody Sunday

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

 

Satan,

 

Were you watching as they dragged my battered Jesus from his cell?

Did you gloat on how they’d tortured him, and beaten him so well?

Were there gleeful, loathsome parties in some lower fetid hell,

As a kind of celebration on the day Messiah fell?

Did you mingle with the crowd

Shouting insults vile out loud?

Spitting with them all

Holding them in thrall

Wallowing in pride

Demons beaming wide

Did you laugh the hours away

On Friday, Bloody Friday?

 

Did it give you hellish pleasure as they made him bear his cross

Along the via dolorosa, through the rubbish and the dross?

Did it make you feel triumphant, that at last you were the boss;

That Messiah had been broken, and his true men at a loss?

Did you catch his eye that day

A glance that was to say

You’ve lost what you had

You’ve got it coming bad

Im going to watch you die

Watch you shriek up to the sky.

Did he watch you mock that day,

On Friday, Bloody Friday?

 

As the rude iron nails were planted in his gentle, caring hands

And his ankles pierced with heavy blows, a torture all of mans’,

Did you smile with vile delight?  As all his erstwhile loving fans

Deserted him, the zenith of your plans

Must have seemed to you

To all come true.

For Messiah hung

Feebly strung

On wooden tree

Just for your glee.

Did you watch him, wordless, pray

On Friday, Bloody Friday?

 

And as they raised his cross up high, did you laugh deep in your soul?

As they dropped the cursed cross into its hellish prepared hole,

And he gasped in pain and terror as the nerves jangled their toll,

Did your inner being exultate as at last you got your goal?

You felt the triumph then

Over God and over men

Your blasted nether hells

Rang their dissonant bells

To tell the demons how

Satan’s rule was started now.

Every devil had his day

On Friday, Bloody Friday.

 

At the third hour, your power 

Spat out, and in hell’s deep bower

They rejoiced at victory won.

 

Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?

 

I thirst.

 

Blessed are they that thirst

 

It

Is

Finished.

Friday, Bloody Friday.

 

Temple curtain rent in twain

Thieves crying out in pain

Alone, unloved, 

Hung

Messiah.

 

But were you doubtful of the battle you had hard won, even then?

A huge round stone, you got your men

To seal Messiah’s body in

The cold grey tomb of death.

And, sure now that all was done

You head from tomb of the Son

Down down returning to your throne

Of blasted stone and mire.

 

Three days of celebration gone, did you at last arise

And look out from your portals, as the son began to rise?

And Mary heads toward the grave, I imagine your surprise

As loud she wails “He is not there” , the stone lies flat, unprised.

Oh would it be that I could have seen

The pain upon your face

As Messiah turned mortal death around

And ushered in his grace.

 

In caverns deep the wailing starts, a hellish song so full of dread

And dying hopes that you did aspire

All lie crushed beneath the heel

Of him that you thought dead

He is Alive! Your demons shriek; He is arisen! Flee!

For hell’s own boundaries are shook

And prisoners set free.

 

Oh, do you remember, long ago, the nadir of your days?

Do you remember all your power leeched by he who prays

Above and to the Father?  He who all fear allays?

 

Then recall, with deep’ning dread

The words you shrieked out to the dead;

The words that will not go away:

 

SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY.

 

 

 

 

© Roger Wright 2004 

All rights reserved.

J’ai Peur

I spend much of my life in fear.

Fear and dread.

I am mostly frightened of things that have not happened, things that probably will not happen, and things that are not happening.

Yet, inside my head, fear lurks like a scarab, scratching and scraping at frayed nerve ends; never ceasing, except, perhaps, for that first few seconds of awakeness following sleep, when all the possibilities of a good day are crammed into a few, brief moments.  

I am a sufferer from a mental illness, I am not stupid; I know that certain things of which I am afraid are unlikely to happen, I know that the world is not as my head interprets it.  Yet, there is, seemingly, no escape from the dread that comes with every telephone ring, with every siren, with every knock upon theoor.  The unopened mail that is official has fear written all over it, as surely as if the sender had inscribed ‘Be afraid of the content of this letter’ in bright red crayon on the envelope.  Flashing blue lights that hint at emergency, arrest – cardiac and otherwise! – , exposure, lies; each whirring beat of the helicopter blade that hovers in the neighbourhood, looking watching, listening.

Shame of loss; losing a home, a loved one, a partner, a child.  Shame, indeed, of having the fear in the first place; as a human being, supposedly wise in years, it is unbecoming, as a Christian, it is damning in itself as commentators professional and personal remind you that the bible ‘says’ ‘Do Not Fear!’ many many times.  These are fears that you will be shunned not only by community, church, and friends, but by very God Himself.  The dread of letting down your family or your friends – actual, virtual, or imaginary – is a constant companion.

One is assaulted by doses of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – if one is lucky – from the psychiatric department, mostly which seeks to persuade kindly, but instead can instill the fear of failing the practitioner.  The drugs should alleviate the terror, but one is frightened to tell someone that they do not.

Living with fear is a by product of PTSD and depressive illness.  It is exhausting and it drains. It also, strangely, increases belly fat.  Prolonged Cortisol release, without breaks, can cause weight gain around the middle. Cortisol is a fight-or-flight hormone released when one is anxious or emotional.

I’m frightened of something that does not exist. 

I’m frightened of people laughing at me for being frightened of something that does not exist.

J’ai peur.

Hymn To ATOS

It took a gentle Jesus for to save my wayward soul
But it only took an ATOS form to say that I was whole;
The ATOSsers and my Jesus are alike as chalk and cheese,
But both of them will have you quickly sinking to your knees;
Oh yes ATOS and Jesus are alike as cheese and chalk – 
But both of them, I found, will say ‘take up your bed and walk’!

Please Show Me Your Id

Quite how lovely it is to be mentally ill is difficult to describe.

It has all the enjoyment factor of swimming in a tar pit, window shopping with a weightlifter – complete with weights – sitting on your shoulders, eating at a Michelin-star restaurant without taste buds or sight.

No, I have to admit, it’s none of these things. Because whatever epithets, allegories, metaphors (extended or not) one©2010 R.Wright applies to the term ‘mental illness’ simply fail to give a true idea about the depth of pain and despair it can engender in a sufferer. Words simply don’t hack it. Art can sometimes come close. Yet even that creative spectrum is limited (usually) to a two- or three-dimensional representation; this illness of the self, caused by God (cf., psychiatry) knows what, defies the available number of dimensions available to the artist.

It’s a conundrum for the sufferer to explain to even the most dedicated of listeners the nature and scope of the devastation, while still using words, pictures or other creative forms.

But that’s what the mentally ill artist – of whatever artistic discipline – has to try to do.

To what extent they are successful is down to their abilities, insight and dogged persistence, as much as it is to the viewer, listener, reader. If they are connected and have a good awareness – not to mention acceptance – of their self, and how this illness impacts upon it, they may impress; if they have the ability to express, represent, signpost their disorder, they may inform; but in order to communicate, they must be prepared to bare their emotions, thoughts, selves.


Which is where the conundrum comes in, since many sufferers are bound into themselves, aware of the©R.Wright 2010 dangers of self-revelation, unwilling to take risks which may expose truths that lie hidden, dormant, or safely quarantined.
However, all is not lost.
Art – in its many forms – can help to liberate the most imprisoned mind. It cannot truly cure, but it can enable the sufferer to experience a larger world which remains safe; it can reduce fear, self-loathing, introversion. It can relieve the pain of anxiety, the constraint of learnt behaviours, the depths of despair. It can give back to the ill their self-respect, their confidence, their humanity.

And, as a happy consequence, it can help to educate, communicate, and give understanding. Not just to self, but also to the wider audience, those that have not suffered such privations as this illness gives, those who need to see, to grasp, part of the whole truth of despair; either to understand a friend or relative, or for themselves.

In giving, the mentally ill artist receives. Receives understanding, empathy, and – to a great extent – peace. The peace of knowing that they can create art that gives.


And hope that they, too, may experience the hope of wholeness.

The author is involved with a community art group called Towers Above, and has participated at Wyldwoods Centre. Pictures ©2010-11 R.Wright


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Suicide: Note

wounded ire

funeral pyre

 

the sun hides

the other side

and in the quiet

dark deeds arise

 

not even the ancient light of stars

break through the velvet shroud

no breaking thunder ever heard

in cloying silence loud

 

would that hell had a fire

a colour other than

deathly black

would that screams invade mute ears

and break the silence

break its back

 

how can something whisper

when no voices are around

and how can something stumble

with no stones upon the ground

 

little ‘mare, you utter much

your fear pervades these lonely halls

the wide wide path again i tread

with mounting dread

as terror falls

 

nothing left

no not one

take thy drum and beat another tune

for this one empty and forlorn

has no more song

no music of its own

will ever again escape

pale lips

 

come god come gods

come one come all

and see the

blasted extent

of the

final

fall