This poem was written by a man who knew first hand about the devastating effects
that severe and profound mental illness can bring. He was bright, eager, and a dreamer,
determined to be a great artist, and had the talent to go far…, except for his illness.
He took a job in housekeeping, was a hard worker and a friend to many. Eventually,
his medications caused medical complications that resulted in his leaving work on
disability. But determined to be helpful, he became a volunteer helping others who
dealt with an illness that he knew so well. He took a strong interest in the Toledo
State Hospital Cemetery Project, but his medical condition at the time prevented
direct involvement. George died much too young in 2008, but will be remembered for
his will and determination to accomplish, despite his roadblocks. He would be proud
to know that this poem is being shared on this web site.
This poem by George describes a time of transition in mental health treatment, when
the environment was not always sympathetic to the patient’s needs. It describes
his treatment from his point of view.
STATE HOSPITAL BLUES REVIVAL ’69 to 2000 Revisited By George Alan Ewing
Strapped to a metal bed
In the quiet room
Filled with much gloom
Night after lonely night
Not even being able to see the darkened sky!!
Trapped: Asking myself,
Gazing into the looking glass
Behind my brain,
“Is this really insanity or
just the hard falling rain?”
The doctor says, “The new medicine
Should slow the synapses to fire more slowly”
but in my mind’s eye
my thoughts are racing
Like machine fire at a turkey shoot!!
Later they loosen me
From leather straps
After a period in ‘69’
When I took twenty separate shocks.
The aides came into my
Pale green lonely seclusion room
Hurling snarling insults,
As if, to add insult to injury.
It began to drive me right up the wall.
And one day, like any other day,
The Machine spat me out like a large clump of dirt