for a long time

Psychiatry 2: Student Daze – Poem 12 

we huddle in a group
while the secure door
is unlocked to admit us

a small man
wild grey hair
unmatched eyes
rumpled shirt
greets us
sing-song style

hello boys and girls
how are you all today
are you visiting the wards
on your first morning
that’s lovely

who is he
what did he do to get locked up
he looks so strange
has he been here long

oh prospective students
was the Nurse-In-Charge
of the locked ward

he has been in charge
for a



© Frank Prem, 2016

Next: the most important thing

Notes on: for a long time


20 thoughts on “for a long time

      • That name has such a familiar ring to it – whether because it is particularly infamous or because they all sound the same, I don’t know, but gee there’s been some notoriety over the years. I went through the period of Institution closures over here and it was pretty grim and gruesome.

        Not better now, necessarily, but much different.


      • Cropped up in many shows & movies. Also a required field trip for Psych majors where I went to school & popular place to do an internship for Psych majors too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for that Michael. I agree re corruption. I’m persuaded that every institution ends up being corrupt, and most folk working in them either become actively or passively complicit in it.

        When I studented I’d never in my life been exposed to the kinds of things I saw and experienced. Big wake up – some of which will be revealed in due course …


      • Likewise the penal system. Petri dish for every imaginable dehumanization possible. I look forward to reading about more of your experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the crossover between the legal system and psychiatry is incurably blurred now. I have heard that the penal system in the US is the biggest repository for mental illness. It is becoming the same here.

        And we don’t train much in the way of specialist staff to look after folk anymore, either.

        System stuffed.




      • Yep, a big warehouse. The streets are another popular spot for people who suffer from mental illness. No, very little training anywhere. Police shoot, ask questions later. Big mess.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Arris, Thank you. The whole mental asylum/institution experience has to be viewed that way, I think.

      I’m inclined to think that from the perspective of the resident, it was more real – it was their whole life back around the earliest days I am writing about in this set.

      Anyway, I hope it’s a good read as it unfolds.

      More tomorrow.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Frank! Looking forward to more (sorry for the delay in my seeing this; sometimes, as an artist, I need time off from the internet, to regain headspace for creativity, and too, I get preoccupied and forget to get back to things I’m interested in, and time, there is never enough, but I do enjoy your writing very much).


  1. I like your poems about the asylum best of all. I feel there is an undertone there under the humour on the surface. Did you know that the poet Tomas Transtromer was a Psychologist? When an admirer once asked him how his work affected his poetry, he said it was odd that people seldom asked: “How has your poetry affected your work”.
    Anyway…keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder how “shocking” and upsetting it must have been – to be suddenly thrust onto a ward – text book learning and examples can’t compare to the real life introductions …. and as I’ve read through the comments, clearly, more than just a huge jolting wake-up call.

    Liked by 1 person

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