Psych Ward Visitor
In the Bin
again and I notice
Someone just out of sight
Furtive, foggy, stalking us
Around the corner
near the Med Line
Waiting to see
who’s farthest gone
Patiently holding vigil
as patients tossturn
overnight ‘til dawn
He bides his time
rolling dice that are
all snake eyes
No worry, no hurry
He’s not on a schedule
Then Lonnie got a call
His wife wants a divorce
She took the kids and
he can’t do a thing but moan
we watch him swing
as the nurses try
to cut him down
No resuscitation, he’s
blue and past blues
We all cry and then
I realize, shuddering
the stranger is gone
Death is done – for today
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Trifecta, the definition of Death as the destroyer of life, represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe. In this case, Death is a bit sneakier… but always gets his man (or woman). Also at the Poets United Poetry Pantry, where you’ll find a diverse group writing about all sorts of things!
October 9, 2012 at 12:34 am
Amy, you surely know how to hit us hard. This has to be publishable.
October 9, 2012 at 1:55 am
I felt this one, Amy. Powerful poem. God bless you!
October 9, 2012 at 2:27 am
really flows well. good imagery and emotion. Enjoyed it a lot.
October 9, 2012 at 3:42 am
Very strong. Death indeed bides his time, chooses his moment, then quickly as he arrived is gone. This packs a punch, Amy.
October 9, 2012 at 6:16 am
This is well done, very well done. I agree it is publishable. You’ve captured the furtive haunted atmosphere of the psych unit and its accompanying angst and drama…and its poignancy.
October 9, 2012 at 7:56 am
Whoa, this is so cool. There’s almost a child-like meter…eh, canter…um…rhythm…damn, I can’t think of the word I want 😦 (some writer I am! haha) Let’s stick with simplicity. Yes, a child-like simplicity to the words and feel of the piece and it makes it all the more chilling. o__o
October 9, 2012 at 8:45 am
*appears* WAIT. I think I remember the word I was looking for: cadence. lol *vanishes again*
October 9, 2012 at 8:04 am
fug….you put us right there….and we watch them go one at a time…have been on the ward…its a hard place….
October 9, 2012 at 9:13 am
You really know how to create the scene–it was like reading a mini-horror-mystery. Death is a sneaky one. Nicely done!
October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am
Death has such a presence throughout this poem. Very well-written. As a first-time reader of your work, I am very impressed.
October 9, 2012 at 9:39 am
Whoa, is right! Loved the simplicity. It took me along for the ride very nicely. “No worry, no hurry. He’s not on a schedule”, true life. This was very full of emotion and brought the same out in me. Well done!
October 9, 2012 at 9:51 am
WOW! Amy, your pencil is surely sharp these days. Also your imagination…memory?
SO glad I stopped by to read another gem from Sharp Little pencil!
October 9, 2012 at 10:03 am
As someone who’s spent some time on the psych ward, this rang so true. Poignant. Yes, Death always gets Her man/woman.
Sherry Blue Sky
October 9, 2012 at 10:13 am
So many painful stories on the ward, hey, kiddo? You wrote this so well, we can see him, hear his moan. So sad.
October 9, 2012 at 10:49 am
This is really well done – My favorite bit is patients tossturn-ing and blue past blues. Amazing writing.
October 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Damn…those last lines are outstanding. I love this piece. You should just title it “visitor” because Death could be anywhere, including a psych ward. I love the flow and the imagery.
October 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Wonderfully creepy that Death is lurking around corners, just waiting.
October 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm
Very well done. Your words are very believable.
October 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm
i don’t wanna see it coming! great take on the prompt, Amy!
October 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm
The woman who played Nurse Ratchet in the movie says she can’t watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest anymore. Too brutalizing. Kinda like that poem, actually.
October 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm
I also could have told this tale, but not nearly as well. It hit hard, as was intended. The truth of it resonates, taking my breath away.
October 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm
You carried me back to the years when I visited loved one in the bin far too often. You make me grateful they were not strung up or cut down. You are a powerful voice, my dear friend. A powerful, listened-to voice. Blessings!
October 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm
Wow. This was intense and so well written. It really hit me in the gut.
October 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm
Like your description of this one but it also gives me pause. It hits home for personal reasons. Miss your visits at my site, Amy.
October 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm
This was really cool, and I liked the way you chose to phrase a couple things (especially, for some reason, the way you say the patients “tossturn”). Your development of the main idea was nice too (the simple description of him swinging, blue). Nice one!
Poetry & Icecream
October 11, 2012 at 8:54 am
Brilliant Amy! I love the personification of death 🙂
October 11, 2012 at 9:19 am
Wow. That was really eerie. Great job stringing those words together and keeping our interest. I loved the imagery of him swinging. Nice job.
October 11, 2012 at 11:22 am
Very intense, just on the edge of sanity. Excellent!
October 15, 2012 at 2:36 am
You are a star in heaven’s firmament Amy Sharp Little Pencil ~ you really sharpened it for this one ~ just back from overseas and catching up with peeps ~ this one of the first comments I’m leaving … powerful stuff indeed.
October 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm
At first appearance of the word swinging I felt it coming. You really know how to reach an emotional core in your reader…