art, Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

Six institutions, six poems

by Gloria Lovely (guest author) on 17 June, 2010

Barbara spent time as a child in Opal House, Opal Joyce Wilding Home, Wilson Youth Hospital, Vaughan House, The Haven and at Wolston Park Hospital (Osler House) between the years 1970 and 1979. Here are Barbara’s poems Remembering Osler House, Time, Tomorrow, Too Much!, Young and Word Games.

Remembering Osler House.

Screams echo down the hallway of my mind, as they did the cells
and hallways of that house of endless horrors, through the years.
My body still remembers all the shame of what I witnessed,
And the corrosive, all-pervasive acid-urine smell of fears.

I was thirteen years.

The sobbing, wailing background noise that ate away the night;
The soul-shattering, too-sudden… cessation of the screams,
These joined the tortured memories I buried in the abyss,|
To carve away my childhood, brutally, as they stole my dreams.

I was only thirteen.

The milling, naked bodies in the showers with no doors;
The excrement and sanitary pads, my first time, on the floors.
Betrayed by my own government, the state that had my care,
In an adult asylum for the criminally insane; I’d pulled out all my hair.

I was only a child.

Hollow-eyed people, shock-treatment blank, helpless,
And no longer knowing their names;
The intellectually disabled and terrified children
Still haunt in their drugged, bruised and bare-naked shame.

I was thirteen years old.

TIME

Time:
Master of Earth,
Dictator by Nature,
With Universal Power,
Sits in His Tower,
Solving all mystery,
Exposing
Success or Failure,
Truth or Lie,
By and by.
In Time you’re paid
What you’ve earned;
In Time the hands
Of clocks are turned;
In Time understand what,
With Time, you have learned.
Possessive Guard
Of Past and Future;
Undefeated, Eternal Master:
Won’t move slower,
Won’t move faster.
His Word is Law;
You can’t break away.
There’s nothing more:
There’s just Today.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow.
Always tomorrow.
Whatever it is,
it’s always left…
’til tomorrow.
Just a slight delay…
Tomorrow…
But not Today.
Today we are
too busy
Dreaming and planning
for tomorrow.
It’ll be a big day
with all that we have planned
for Tomorrow.

Too Much!

Too many thoughts
Spinning around:
Too much to think about.
Too many thoughts,
And too many thoughts
That I could do without!
Too many people
all in my thoughts:
Wish they’d all go away.
Too much can happen,
And all crammed into
A twenty-four hour day.
Too many things
that I should do
When I don’t want to do any.
Too many people;
Too many thoughts;
Enough!
Too much!
Too many!

YOUNG

You can grow old,
‘Though you were born young.
With impermanence weak,
You can be strong.
And, yes, you can walk,
‘Though you’re learning to crawl.
You have an idea,
Yet younger, saw all.
For you can eat fruit,
‘Though you suck from the nipple:
A stone’s throw’s a universe,
Seen through a ripple.
But always know this:
What you are, you can be.
You can open each door:-
Only you have the key.

WORD GAMES

I wrap words around their intent,
And knock pretext to its knees.
I push protests off their perches,
And with words, do as I please.

I pack speech with all its content,
And condemn the need to tell
With embellishment and pretence,
‘Cause exaggeration’s hell.

I write off the need for falseness,
And I verily will say
That all politic diplomacy’s
In over-use today.

I like truth without adornment,
(If the garnish leads to lies),
With no semblance of pretension,
With no mask and no disguise.

3 thoughts on “Six institutions, six poems”

  1. hi there we will all get there thankyou for your responce to mine i need your phone no and email address please may i im in act now fighting roberts gone and i got nothing to lose ok

  2. YEH HI THERE I REMEMBER THEM DAYS AT WILSON YOUTH HOSPITAL AND JOYCE WILDING HOME AND KALIMNA GIRLS HOME. IT WAS VERY SAD IN THEM DAYS HEY.I WAS IN THEM HOMES FROM 1972 TO 1976. LAVERNE MURPHY.

  3. Hi Laverne! I remember you well. Hope things are a lot better these days than they were for us way back then.

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