Schizophrenic Poets and Writers – Poetry On Psychosis

A poem explicitly about psychosis by Ann Olson, PhD, one of the most creative poets and writers with schizophrenia. It is based upon “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.  The Love Song of Ophelia was originally published in Boneworld Publishing’s Barbaric Yawp.  It is explicitly about psychosis.

The Love Song of Opheliapoets.and.writers

Come with me

We’ll hide awhile

When the moon-daze knows

With it’s guarded smile

Like yours increscent behind tittering fingers

Come through particular corridors

On fragmented floors

Of houses built on foundations

Permanently stilted

That chase one to a stellar fall

Oh, do not ask of diminishing sand

Come let’s go while we can stand

And on they talk about the land

Of the perished Renaissance man


The green lucidity that stares through the glass

Breathes hot and harsh upon the glass

Smothering reflection that creeps in my head

Reminiscing echoically of sneer-glee and brass

Portent in dream sleep differently dead

Madness grindingly curdled and hashed

Posturing adjacent as I do my chores


And on they talk about the land

Of the perished Renaissance man


And indeed the voices will rend on

Telling me when to stop and when to go

Answers stillness receives, never asks

There will be voices, there will be choices

For which I am ineptly composed

Ever the worse excavating what I sow

And there will be voices for all the unfaithful floors

Exactingly traversed backwards and half-blind

Decimated with meticulous precision

Before a beer with lemon rind


And on they talk about the land

Of the perished Renaissance man


And there will be voices

Which question, “Do I wonder?” and “Do I wonder?”

While shadows reside in the strange-glowing moon

The Achilles footman that consumes my banquet


(They will slip: “But how her days lag!”)

As my morning coffee taken perfunctorily creamy

Walking in ways that flash ankle more seemly

(They will slip: “But how her flesh sags!”)

And there will be voices offering choices

Which rumble to a precipice of spontaneity


And in a lengthening moment

There will be a prayer pleading for silence


For I have walked cracked footholds before, known to all

Waiting sterile minutes in the morning

Waking evenings, moon burning

Ranting omens in frail calls

Stubbing toes I weltered, learning

But how could I assume?


And I have heard the lies already, heard withal

Suffering like a Bride on the floor

Never lamenting as would a willow

Ambivalent desire that winking billows

I have smelled the hunter stalk his lady lore

A queer fear stain on my pillow

But how could I assume?


And I have wallowed in details with abating Fall

(Straighten shoulders and walk tall!)

Items that mince in shifting numbers

Waking eyes of fleeting slumber

Fingers wrest, my heart encumbered

But how could I assume?


And how should I conclude?


The fracturing of the glass

Creating fissures-how unctuous

Now permeable, leaking spirit sense

Yawning tangible, unarrested


I should have been a petunia gatherer

Expecting guileless blossoms in my basket


But shall I say, after I have picked the locks of other’s houses

And noting the remnants of glass observation

Of isolation and idle slime consumption


I should have been a comforting whore

Swallowing warm urges in pristine indolence


As the wondering moments reflecting now

Like the moon in a rain drop

Falling… squelched…unresounding

A coup de grace ultimately inconsequent


And may I upon thinking-compelled observation,

Compromise principles, interlocking?

And though I have blown clean with foreshadowed ignominy

And once accepted prostrate mind for body


For I am a woman, not a symbol for mankind


Then realizing near succinct symbolism

My spurred lark soul fleeting ineffably

Locked in a house moon-lit and chain-guarded

Reduced, I was psychotic


And was there an insight unapprehended

Alive in a tool-box, somehow pretended

Dwindling in conditions of stirred, smoky air

Drinking cheap wine with a suicidal flair

To cease meanderings of relished process

An endless tobacco-fired reverie

Igniting never self-surmised exploration

To consequence and faithful dream death


For I would have sold my soul into slavery

If Satan’s secrets told of God-mind unity


And what if on rendering material conclusion

Considering moon-myth and moral obligation

Wrenched incomplete with ill-consideration

Symbolism’s crisis in transmitted observation

Voices pattering with the din of finality

“A light head, full of wind”?


And was there illumination even now overlooked?

After the bars, the brain brawls, the boys, becoming men

After us becoming shadows charred by object-worship

The material, the immaterial, metaphysics’ tarnished forms

Was there breaking flashes of “to be or not to be”?


Or did I amount to a bird in quicksand

Sticky, muddied wings flapping noisily?


No! I am not Ophelia, nor was I meant to be

I will serve as head school mistress

One that elevates minds

Knowing soul nausea

The sickening thud of mental collapse

The endless shifting of thesis to antithesis

Slow wheelbarrow progress

Carrying coffins unemptied

And supplying fresh lumber

To the march to build new ones


Can this be my fate?

To taste death ever presenting?

And yet, unobliging?

To lie out on the table my tacit consent?


I cough….hiccup…cough again

Roll on fresh cinders


It’s past mid-day – Coffee makes me uneasy

Sometimes in daylight I feel downright queasy

I know what it is to know


And I surmise the yawning


Seeing Zeus’ stroke of lightning bolt brilliance

I will drink moon juice and mend my ways

Walk on paths trodden – avoiding weed growth


Imperfection, haltingly, harnessed and ridden

I do not need sunlight

Wonder lust is forbidden

“Lady Peeping Behind Blank Card” by imagerymajestic /

One Response to “Schizophrenic Poets and Writers – Poetry On Psychosis”

  1. jeff says:

    I also write poetry and am schizophrenic.

Leave a Reply