Poem: South Ward

I have made many visits to mental health hospitals over the years, almost all of them in support of my mother who suffered for most of her adult life from severe mental illness. The experience of these institutions humbles the mind. It teaches us how each of us is a “preposterous hodgepodge, uniquely arranged” – in the words of the great Inga Clendinnen who knew the gulf between the experience of the well and the sick – “a more significant division in any society than class or gender or possibly even homelessness.”