The Mad Woman’s Sundial



The sun shone on my sundial

The shadow reached twelve

Born loved and poor

I laughed and cried

The sun shone on my sundial

The shadow reached three

Branded through trauma

I laughed and cried

The sun shone on my sundial

The shadow reached six

True love gave me a child

I laughed and cried

The sun shone on my sundial

The shadow reached nine

Hospital prison days merging with warm sunsets

I laughed and cried

The moon shone on my sundial

The shadow reached twelve

Freedom’s nectar is tasted

I laughed and cried

The stars shine on my sundial

All shadows are gone

A trilling blue bird on the wing

Singing I fly and my life has begun!
































Kith of my soul

Matriarch of my bones

You tended a heart

Born from your womb

A balm for a volcanic mind

You kept me free from medicine men

Where your riches were few

You found treasures in your children

And if I were to live

Until my hundredth year or more

A lifetime’s passage to be born again

In my sixtieth year

I will dance the waltz of a dizzy spin

In thanks to you

For a love I have lived

And found deep in my heart

You tended so well!

The story of the book of my life

It’s chapters you embrace

Mother the great soul giver!














I awoke sane this morning they tell me

Gliding down the gaping stairs

I jump each one further apart

But this morning is easier

As I land on each step

And falling through is just a mirage

Because I woke up sane this morning

They tell me!




What’s  in a smile?

Makes you stop awhile

Tiny jewels of emotion

Can cause heart commotion

Every mother is proud

Baby’s smiling she cries out loud

And when you smile you know it’s right

To stop a while your plight

A smile is a little glow

That brightens the world somehow

But the bravest gesture of all

Is when you stand the most tall

And when sad and wondering why

You smile with a tear in your eye!



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These poems were written by my brother who died on the 22nd April 1977. He was wrapped up in the psychiatric system and had been on medication for several years. One day just before his death he asked me the question “Do you think psychiatric medication works?” I always being honest with him said “No!”. Then he planned his death, sold his record collection and his few possessions and wrote these  poems. I added to my answer to his question that you never knew and there might be new meds in the future that work. During the 1970s doctors used to prescribe large amounts of medication. He told my late father what he planned to do the night he died and that he had no way out and my dad witnessing his despair and suffering told my brother not to talk about it but to do it.

Yoyoing up and down with his mental health he spent a lifetime in and out of Gaskell House in Manchester a small unit for psychiatric users in Manchester. Everyone knows of someone who has taken their own life and I and my son have also had suicide attempts. I wonder where is the hope for people like us?

My brother would have been 62 this August if he had survived and I ask myself if he was still alive what answer would I have given to his question today?

Here are David’s poems:





When we were kids and played together

And laughed and ran in sunny weather

We didn’t care about the trials of life

We didn’t know about the pain of strife

The sun always shone and the rain never fell

And I remember the stories which we would tell

Of pirates and treasures and far away lands

The music of Christmas, the big brass bands

Now we’re grown up and drifting apart

And there’s sadness in my heart

But I will always remember you as a little girl

And the funny way your dress would twirl

Your shining hair that you would touch

Oh how I loved you so very much!

(this poem he wrote about my sister and they were very close)



Let the rain pour and the wind cry

But let your happiness reach the sky

You laugh and cry and make a joke

And we know you are the joy of folk

You fill each life with endless bliss

And you seal it with a tender kiss

Just care about your friends and especially  yourself

And then you’ll never end up on the shelf

Think about tomorrow as well as today

Will you be unhappy? NO WAY!

(this poem David wrote about my sister’s best friend Lorraine)



I see you in my mind’s eye

A beautiful woman of whom I cannot lie

And when your golden tresses cascade in the light

It does not take all of my might

To worship my every simple delight

As I wish to hold you in the midst of night

Give me but a second, oh serene creature

To contemplate your every feature

Your bright blue eyes, your lips as red as wine

Your perfect roundness of every line

Give me one hint of your feelings towards me

Of those closely hidden thoughts so far away to see?

Oh dream of the night, and the vision of day

Tell me you love me I dearly pray

And by and by I will tell you why

You resemble so much a star in the sky

For as my time quickly passes away

I sorrowfully think of the day

When my mind and my heart can no longer behold

Your beautifully crowned hair of gold

(David wrote this for his ex girlfriend 23rd March 1977 she left him for another)



Dear Sad Lady, if only you had a penny

For every single hurt and pain you have experienced

You would certainly be the richest lady

On this cruel and cold atom we call earth

Your mind is so fragile and yet as strong as the hardest diamond

And the morning slowly opens your eyes and soul

To more and worse agonies which only you can see and feel

But let these dark shadows beware

For their very tempting will be their own executioner

And the light will flow like a torrential sea

Into the whirlpool of your thoughts

And you will find peace and happiness

In your beautiful and yet so sad mind!

(David wrote this about me when I had ended an affair with a man that went wrong before I met my husband of 33 years. He wrote it in the Winter of 1976. Around the time he asked me that question about medication)



Betwixt night and day you will find me when my heart doth pray

My very soul torn between the reality of logic

And the illogical forces which my heart doth obey

Give me a while until I set my mind at rest

For what good is love in one person’s mind

Against the evils which people manifest

Or sorrows in their lives which they do find

I seek the Lord’s power within me but find it not

Have I touched upon that lonesome road to hell?

Is mine one of those that he forgot?

If so, where am I who can tell?

I must be on that dark and lonesome road I know so well!



The word could be heard a billion miles away

As the child lay speaking in the hay

He was heralding the coming of the Judgement Day

And telling us the direction in which our souls should sway

None could tell us more clearly the way

Or whom our hearts and mind should obey

He handed it to us on a simple wooden tray

So remember your time is over on that Judgement Day!

(David believed in Jesus and life after death. I wish my son believed in him too. But I am praying for guidance that my son won’t take his own life just like David and so many others that do this today including children.)




What legacy did Imelda leave?

Hording shoes like baby digits

The upping of a posture

High heeled to legs at the top

And toes as red as crimson

Slide into slippers that feed foot balm

Tripping over a staircase made of slithery soles

Ankle straps made of a misrepresented blossoming

Sensible professorship’s happy feet

Of flats and laces

Trainers for the untrained eye

And feet binding the gang plank walk

Aboard the ship sailing on the sea of womanhood.




Little pockets Little pockets

That cosset the memories of life

Little pockets Little pockets

For hands left out in the cold

Little pockets Little pockets

Hold comfort in the jacket of existence

Little pockets Little pockets

Hold secrets of childhood with conkers and sticky toffees

Little pockets Little pockets

Are sanctuary for abused fingers

Little pockets Little pockets

Place your hand into mine

Little pockets Little pockets

We will breed Kangaroo digits

Billions of baby “Thumbs up Freedom”!

The Fat Psychiatrist




Tell me please why are you so huge?

I don’t mean to be rude

You say it’s from Statins taking

A heart condition in the making

I am here today for my review

Fat and big just like you

Please excuse me if I can’t sit still

Seems it’s something to do with your pill

Tell me doctor am I under control

Because I feel really bad on the whole

I know my behavior can be really batty

And I become mad as a hatty

But might I make a polite suggestion

Won’t mention it’s for my own protection

Medication for some simply does not work

And  prescriptions it is my thought

Should not be repeated on and on

For the broken hearts of some

Surely something in common we both have

Both our hearts have turned us into flab!

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