This Poem was Submitted By: Nancy Ann Hemsworth On Date: 2009-11-11 07:58:08 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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C East 1975

Patients sit dumbfounded in the corners and others soaked in urine on the floor as untamed sounds echo from the voices of the many lives left there to be ignored encased in solid brick and mortar walls the doors are bolted down, unit secured Upheaval runs… hysteria secured holding straps are placed upon the corners of restraining chairs lined up against the walls  a body flinging wildly off the floor the screech of desperation is ignored medication quiets all the voices But words do not come from all these voices unable to communicate, secured all tragic stories kept within these walls of the souls that cower in the corners the others that lay sprawled upon the floor most of them forgotten and ignored They live their lives surrounded by these walls counting on the staff to be their voices for none are capable to take the floor without support, they would not be secure no care, nor love would find its way to corners nor helping hand to comfort these ignored At birth, they were not meant to be ignored these babies , there within the nursery walls till the doctors, huddled into corners A sober tone heard within their voices a diagnosis then to be secured as hopes and dreams for future hit the floor Mourning parents… crying on the floor such pain and sorrow could not be ignored these baby’s tragic futures were secured within the limitations of these walls institutionalize … advised the voices parents heartache filled up all the corners In corners, these grown children stay ignored lay fetal on the floors behind cold walls now with voices hushed… all must seem secured Listen close… you may hear a lullaby.

Copyright © November 2009 Nancy Ann Hemsworth

Additional Notes:
This poem is based on experiences I have had working with the profoundly retarded in a childrens hospital years ago. It is a Sestina and old French poetry form, very restrictive but I think it suits this topic. I took a bit of poetic licence here and added a single line at the end of the form to finish off my thoughts. I also wrote it in constant 10 beat lines to make it flow which is not necessary to writing one. The sestina is a poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy, where the words ending the lines of the first stanza are repeated in a different order at the end of lines in each of the subsequent five stanzas and, two to a line, in the middle and at the end of the three lines in the closing envoy. The patterns of word-repetitions are as follows 1 2 3 4 5 6 6 1 5 2 4 3 3 6 4 1 2 5 5 3 2 6 1 4 4 5 1 3 6 2 2 4 6 5 3 1 (6 2) (1 4) (5 3) An alternative version of the envoi holds that the pattern should be as follows: Line 1 - 1, 4 Line 2 - 2, 5 Line 3 - 3, 6 With this, words 1, 2, and 3 can occur anywhere in lines 1, 2, and 3 respectively, but words 4, 5, and 6 must occur at the end of the lines. There is no set meter or rhyme scheme although traditionally most were written in iambic pentameter.


This Poem was Critiqued By: James C. Horak On Date: 2009-12-03 07:34:53
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.75000
Many years ago, in a lit course on Dryden, my prof was a self-appointed ass, Arthur T. Sherbo, whose sole professional distinction was being an authority on Christopher Smart (big deal.) Sherbo taught a course on methodology all doctoral candidates had to take. At this bottleneck to their obtaining a meal ticket lay an axe in his propensity to give grad students Ds when no other prof would EVER give any grad student less than a C. His lectures would often wander far off even outside his field of expertise and that's where I would "stick it in his lovely behind." Once he made an unfavorable comparison between John Gay's Beggar's Opera and Bertholdt Brecht's, Three Penny Opera. I made the crack, "well, at least Gay never wrote anything comparable with Brecht's, Three Penny Novel. Sherbo took the bait and declared that it was the Three Penny Opera Brecht wrote, not a Three Penny Novel. To which I replied, "He first wrote the novel and adapted the opera from it". Sherbo protested and I offered to bring the novel to the next lecture. Which I did and he wanted to borrow it. I came early for the next lecture and put a poem I had written in staunch iambic pentameter on his chalk board. Two of the lines: "In this land there is a muse/whose only use is to deliberate his views." Sherbo came in late, as he was want to do, read it, commented, "not bad", and erased it. Nonplussed. Winning a little mite of respect, I hate to say. Nancy, many things have become far more important to poetry than form, most of all powerful image building. I say this because a poem of intensity such as yours here, is reduced in power by the obvious weakness of strict form, contrivance. And what a powerful poem this could be! with just a little less of it. Now if you want a formal critique of this I will give it to you, but I had much rather see you rewrite it with less emphasis on form at the expense of imagery. JCH


This Poem was Critiqued By: claire currier On Date: 2009-11-26 19:24:05
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
my computer shut down on me my friend and I have lost every part of what has been entered into the link for the past eight or so years....I was hoping my poetry was still here but that too is lost. If I could only remember my old password I might be able to have it restored but for now.......nothing. I know I have already critiqued this piece you have so well presented and how it certainly has touched my heart. The pain parents must feel and go through from the beginning to the end is reflected within the lines. I hope and pray that those who care for the infants, children, grown adults understands what it needed other then the restraints, forgetting, leaving alone to tend for themselves. You worked in such a facility and I am certain your patients were very fortunate to have you to care for them. Thank you for posting and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...God Bless
This Poem was Critiqued By: cheyenne smyth On Date: 2009-11-13 16:40:04
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Hello Nancy, This is a heartbreaking poem that tugs at the strings of the heart. I have seen some of these patients you write about and it is difficult not to turn away. I like the Sestina poetry form, however they can be a challenge to write and do it well. Having said that, you have done an excellent job with this one. You have good word choices and flow throughout. I know most of the poems written in this form are written in iambic pentameter but I think the free verse works well here. Well done, cheyenne
This Poem was Critiqued By: DeniMari Z. On Date: 2009-11-11 12:33:40
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.66667
Nancy you're experience stands out in your write of the sadness that comes with not being born healthy in life. You've touched my heart, empathizing with the plight of such misfortune and the coping mechanisms that have to be strong to endure, as the child, and as the parent of the child. Imagery has impacted this piece, as the scene unfolds with the reader being able to step into the picture, then out - with compassion towards their situation. I wouldn't change anything, this is a strong heartfelt write, complete with personal view, and ables the reader to understand completely the story you are telling. blessings, Deni
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2009-11-11 08:22:25
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Nancy how very nice to see you posting today.....I was able to read this and associate with it since it takes place in a secured hospital (most likely State Hospital) and it is way back in the 1975 era. My first impression is WOW how horrible a situation for anyone to be in.....these children were often just left behind by their families for many reasons and that is very sad in itself. I know there were many good people out there trying to take care of these children, young and old alike....it also reads like a horror story (for most of these children and young adults it probably was) and the images you created bring much sadness to ones soul. How fortunate these children were to have you caring for them...not easy on you either....the last line is perfect for one can and does hear the soft sound of a lullaby...most likely sung by the best....my thoughts and feelings are it is one for the contest list for sure and I wish you well with it. God Bless, Claire
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