On Civilisation Sickness

This is a poem I wrote a year ago that I shared for International Women’s Day 2017 in appreciation of all of us, men and women alike, who seek to grow closer to our fellow humans:

Eurydice’s Civilisation Sickness

We the depressed, the addicted,
the anxious, the traumatised,
the isolated autists,
the chronically alone.
We are not ill;
We are but sickened.
We have seen that which cannot be unseen
And felt too deeply in a world
Unknowingly insane.

We have been persuaded,
good souls that we are,
to believe a lie:
that it is we who are broken,
not this civilisation
painstakingly built
on the vain glory of reason.

We the mentally ill
Are not the insane
But the awakeners
From the trance of
Of soulless cities
Where you and I are made two
Not one

We are not broken.
All that ruptured was our trance,
Our sweet fantasy
That hell was heaven.
Oh blessèd awakening
With what pangs you birth our new mind.

My wild, free-associating grief
Is the only possession
I own
I own
It may possess me.
Does it keen through me
Or I through it?

We hobble from one rational cure
To the next,
Each time leaving
By one of two doors:
If we are ‘lucky’, we shall have been Converted to the dogma of reason,
Seduced by the sirens of sanity,
Called to the land of the lotus eaters.
But if we are true,
We shall instead slope away,
Baffled, bruised,
Confused and blue.

There is nothing civilised about civilisation.
Civilisation is a myth we were sold.
So I say this: fling open the gates of your outpost of hell, and run,
For the hills
For the wilds
For the rivers and streams
Where the grand expanse teems
With screeches and caws
With an order of Life
Which will not be ordered
Or tidied
Or neatened
Or cured
Or urged to make sense.
Too sensual to be sanitised,
Your maddened brain.
Could you but find
That door out of your mind.
Should you find it,
Run through!
Don’t look back, Orpheus,
For you lead me to safety –
Where the heron hides –
There lies the consolation of my soul.


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