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Institution is a State of Mind

Tall doors open
heavy and dark
beneath stone cold
ceilings, high
with glaring bare bulbs
looming a splash
of caustic light.
Faded green walls
damp with the stench
of urine,
and her slippers flip-flap
against the cold floor.
A door slams shut
like thunder
it crashes over me
like a tidal wave.
My ears feel
its painful echo.
It is now that I see,
she is too far gone
to recognize me.
This is the place
my mother has chosen
for her mind to be.
She imagines it
far less ghastly
than being a mother
to my little brothers
and me.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Editing stage: 

Comments

haunting. Feels like Plath. What a way to describe that scene!
My only suggestion is to break it into stanzas, the prosody of paragraphs. I see 3 or 4 in there, which I think would give the reader a second to change gear, as a different aspect is introduced. also the line "she has gone too far" feels like it wants to say "it has gone too far (to recognize me) .

Really nice writing describing the facility. The last line punches right in our guts, too. you can feel the emotion behind the poem.

.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

I appreciate your suggestions, in fact, I have written this poem broken into stanzas and it was a toss-up between that and this version. I'll work on posting your suggested version though. My mother's state of mind was as this poem describes. "She" has gone too far is accurate here. This was her chosen journey away from her hated role of motherhood.
Thank you for taking the time to critique this poem

Respectfully,

Marthalyn

author comment

Love the power in this short poem.
The lines in the first stanza set the tone and reminded me of a dingy prison. A place you don't want to be...
A nice transition into the second half with the emotion.
Well done!

"There is no way to peace, peace is the way."

Jenny

Powerful, took me right
there with you, thank you!

It could be improved, less
could be more but it is really
good.

Hi Martha, when I saw the title it brought me to read more, and what a relatively powerful poem. I thought about the title more and wondered why you didn't use simply.. Institutionalized
I could really feel the impact of sadness.
Later,

~Mark~

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There is one point that I want to make to Mark regarding the title. This was not about a physical place, not a building, nor an "institution". I interpret a different meaning of the word, "Institutionalized". I've known people who could have been described that way after having been inside an institution. In this poem, I hoped to identify a person's escape into madness, e.g. If I assume I am insane, eventually, I will be. My mother's escape from the dread of motherhood was a mental state of being. She was never in a physical facility, but her mind was in a prison of her own making.
I hope that explains my title more clearly.
Thank you.

Respectfully,

Marthalyn

author comment

Thanks for that,

~Mark~

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I always like your poems, and this one shone with your ability to produce clear images. I did find the first sentence too run on, so mentally put a comma after ceiling to slow it down. But for the rest, your periods and commas gave me cadence for both pause, and duration.

The main affect of your poem was to trigger me to contemplate how could it be one would "choose" such state. I do believe its possible, though, as I believe mind to be the reality of existence.

T

The most powerful reaction
of mind on mind
is transference of sight

You asked the question that I had expected most of all. How or why does one "choose" such a state of mind. Certainly, there are those with obvious mental illness that is from physiological chemical imbalances in the brain.

However, Narcissistic personalities in denial of their fear, anger, and anxiety can create a mental image of how they resentfully view their lives and use it as a weapon on those perceived to be the cause of their torment. They can switch it on and off at will every time the phone rings, or someone comes to the door for a visit. That on and off switch is the clue but after years of it, the practice becomes the rule.

Respectfully,

Marthalyn

author comment
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