Richard Candy

Mental Recovery

The doctor crushed his patient’s head
With words that made him seething red.
The therapist blasted his soul apart
And shattered the visions of his heart.
The nurse annihilated every defense
To help the patient get some sense.

The specialist frowned, “He’s completely blind
To the loss of insight in his mind.”
He wrote the G.P. a kindly letter,
Perhaps we still might make him better.
The psychologist posed aggressive tones.
The CPN’s tired of his moans.

“If he sees the world in the way that’s right,
then perhaps his future can be bright.
And if he sees life with healthy eyes,
He’ll tell apart the truth from lies.”
That’s what the nurses used to say,
Working mundanely day by day.

The specialist wrote the G.P. a letter –
“It’s good the fellow’s getting better.
I believe at last he’s understood
That our intentions have been good.
Paranoia’s a dreadful disease
Because it affects the way one sees.”

But with such effort from the staff,
Delighted to see the old chap laugh,
The patient began to learn to trust
And turn his dreaming into dust.
The doctor winked, “Yes, life’s mundane.
It’s wretched, and it’s full of pain.

But this is normal and it’s wise.”
The patient lifted up his eyes.
The doctor went on to explain;
“Sometimes it’s not all in vain.
Life’s doors for you are open wide
A world of wonder waits outside.”

And so the patient went home cheering;
His paranoia was disappearing.
He was so thrilled to understand,
And shook the doctor by his hand:
“It’s having been through such ghastly hell
that makes you glad when you are well.”

Meanwhile, back on the ward,
Protesting patients were still ignored.
You don’t need ten-foot metal fences
When nurses challenge all defenses
And where therapists challenge patients’ fears
In the midst of floods of tears!

So many feel demented fury,
Reviewed before both ‘judge and jury’
The patient at pains to make his case
Is sometimes shamed in his disgrace.
It’s frustrating that we cannot share
Determination and despair.

This is the nightmare of our age,
When we hide ourselves from our own rage.
What can we do, when patient and nurse
Appear to make each other worse?
Still, in the darkness of the night,
Let’s always aim to have clear sight.


‘This poem has elements of comedy, and it is fascinating how much humour has come out of this project. I do think comedy and mental health go together. I think you can see this in music too. Some of the wittiest composers, Shostakovich for example, have the most turbulent minds. Listening to Shostakovich makes me laugh out loud sometimes.’