Missing in action.

Still silent seamless sorrow as the shadows of the day recede

My loss and longing washes over me

And it feels like my heart might bleed.

 

To carry both of you with me across the seas of need

I long to have your hands to hold

And from this endless ache be freed.

 

Love sets us free to chase our dreams

Make no mistaking there

But the hollow place inside of me, still wishes you were here.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.

For my girls. Whom I love, every day and more. For my Ellen across the seas. Some days leave a gaping chasm of loss. Hold your children tight when they are small if you are going to give them wings to fly. XXXXX

 

 

Fan the flames of love

We are Phoenix we rise above

we fly high against the backdrop

Of a twilight sky

And leave you dead and cold.

Let your sallow soul grow old amongst the bones of those who told

The shallow lie you heard amongst my teardrops.

 

Crystal clear

No malice here

I grace the air with wings of gold.

My heart unfolds with truth and beauty, pure love and loyalty

I am Phoenix.

I rise above.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson.

Image creative commons free to use from pixabay.

Voices of Whittingham….Past lives in an Asylum.

This is again for mental health awareness week. I spent some time today at the archives in Preston. I am currently participating in a local history/arts/creative writing/mental health project. It is based around the Whittingham Asylum at Preston and it aims to give a voice to the lives and stories that played out there. It was a very large Asylum and Preston was very proud of it, there were about 500 staff and often as many as 3000 inpatients.

Whittingham Lives Project.

I have learned a lot in such a few sessions and certainly had some of my own assumptions challenged. The Asylum opened in 1873 and had patients sent there from all over the north-west of England, many of the other Asylums, workhouses, almshouses were already bursting at the seams. It was regarded as a model Asylum and postcards of its external facade were sold as memorabilia. There were extensive gardens where fruit and vegetables were grown and it even had its own orchestra. Underneath this facade still lurked the very real horrors of Victorian poverty and the mental health of a scarred nation. End-stage syphilis was one of the significant causes of the mental and psychotic decline that resulted in many people spending their end of days in the Asylum and in the period of World War 1, both shell-shock and a form of hydrocephalus resulting from the Spanish flu were  responsible for increased demand for spaces and places within the Asylum. The superintendent’s journal from 1873-95 was stark to begin with detailing the very worst events including the frequent dismissals of staff for what can only be described as physical abuse of the inpatients and the frequent outbreaks of scarlatina, diarrhoea and typhoid, whilst rules and regulations resulted in greater detail in later entries, including the deaths from misadventure, poor health and at their own hand.

The Asylum had its own cemetery. People came and went though, it wasn’t always the end of the road and when the photographer that came to capture the newly admitted, those well enough would ask to have images taken to show they were well and recovered to send to their loved ones with the plea to come and take them away.

Today we were considering restraint, emotional, physical and chemical.

I wrote this for Charlotte.

 

In Chains

Into the light, beyond the bands that bind me tight,

Into the dawn, beneath the hands that hold me down,

Into the sunlight, the stench of starch and sulphur stings my eyes

Into the madness, my muddled mind festers in fetid fettered manacles.

Deliver me.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

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I don’t belong to you…the voice of a lover crossed.

I don’t belong to you

I never did

I was just a borrowed shirt

An accessory of sorts

To compliment your crass existence

I wasn’t yours to own.

 

We danced all night, our bodies entwined

It was love at first sight,

We belonged together forever.

But at the end of the night

You were gone.

I was alone.

 

Do you want jam with your toast?

I prefer eggs she thought.

Is this my life I see before me?

Always him before me, and he can’t even see

Always sugar in tea, no chance to be free

No room for me.

 

I had his head on a platter

Silver ornate, shiny no blood spatter

It was the only way to win you see

I got to be loved and adored

Play the field, chair the board

And still be me.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

.

Puddled

Some days I have brain fog, it is part of my illness or disease-puddled,

it is like swimming in porridge and I  can see things clear as mud.

 

In the muddle

my life is befuddled

As I try to unriddle

my addled mind.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

For d”verse quadrille on “Muddled”

A little bit of light-heartedness. I suspect the answer is a relaxing cream tea somewhere…..

 

 

Shades of Betty.

It was damask and silk with woven flowers,

Azure, ruby and evergreen on a backdrop of black velveteen.

Her favourite scarf.

 

She wore it like a shawl

skittered, off-centre a-kilter

slightly syncopated in the spirit of her slightly singular eccentricity.

 

Shades of sublime serendipity

Shades of anguish unfurling

Shades of Betty.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson.

The image is my own. ©Alison Jean Hankinson

 

Mirror me….

Two faces of me

New fragmented disturbed thoughts

Spring sings silently.

 

The image is of Amy H Parker who was admitted to Whittingham Asylum. This is part of the Whittingham Lives project exploring the past of Whittingham Asylum. I was intrigued by the images and the use of the mirror in many of them, apparently, it was to enable the staff to become familiar with the different profiles of the patients.

©Alison Jean Hankinson

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