When people tell me …*

When people tell me not to believe

Everything I think

And see

As equally true,

As do and what and when,

And why and try and lose and rue,

And then a rewind yet again,

What all of

Yous do

Fail to understand,

Fail even – maybe! – to wicked comprehend,

Is that actually

The problem ain’t that I think one thing

And drive this idiocy until kingdom unbecoming;

The problem is really that I think every thing: truly

Nothing is left uncontemplated.


Both in bad and good,

And kindly and sad,

And gentle and cruel,

And defensive

And attacking

And racking;

And tacking momentarily

To win small advantage,

And then making out to pretend so wildly

It’s love that drives

Your playfulness,

As cat with broken-winged sparrow –

Sharp and hard,

As arrow

Released and controlled by narrow-minded souls –

I am quite capable of believing every- and any-


About yous, yer know:

I resist no thought

And understand the depths

Of all our inhumanities.


So when you tell me not to believe it all,

Don’t forget that I will always think




Can do.

And that means myself.

And that means you too.

* The following tweet came my way this morning via Julie Freeman.  It is from her presentation that I took the quote at the top of today’s post.  I think it is relevant to the substantive issues underlying my thoughts at the moment:

7 thoughts on “When people tell me …*

    1. It’s about seeing life as it really is; but people assuming I cannot see the wonderful side at the same time. I see and sense the potentially truly awful all the time, and yet persistently remain a convinced optimist. But not everyone sees this optimism, and assume I am ill. I am not; just often distressed. There is a huge difference, and this poem, alongside many others I write, reflects this distress. For more background, see Thomas Szasz on the difference between illness and distress. Oh, and thank you so much for commenting! It’s a lovely feeling for a writer to get a clear response … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Laing & Esterson are also very good on the environmental causes of mental distress: a beautiful book called “Sanity, Madness & the Family” is well worth anybody’s time, especially if you believe in societal rather than individual causes of mental ill-being.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi priyanka47: in response to your question for more background, I have decided to post my own assignment from this semester precisely on the subject of how the powerful use received medical opinion to achieve their goals by manipulating the environment. If you are interested, I will embed the assignment so you and anyone else can read and download it. It’s not the best thing I have written and rightly didn’t get a very good mark, but I did pass, and I did manage to get my point across on a subject which is still painfully close to home for me. If you do find the time to read it, I would be happy to take feedback on- or offline. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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