James Poulter: Psychosis

James Poulter is a volunteer with Oasis, and has just joined our Editing Panel. He shares some of his poetry below.

A moody mountain landscape


Untethered from my past and cast adrift

I reach for the profound and loose footing on the earth

Unable to find the New World nor the route back home

The demon of mental illness seizes its prey

Black clouds pass in front of the sun

The tide sweeps in, washing away foundations

Like a drug that alters thought and perception

I lose control of my rational self

The moral compass spins wildly

False destiny shines like a golden path

The old deceiver firmly takes my hand

The journey into madness has begun

A Bacchanalian fantasy

Dionysus’ orgy of the senses

Noble intentions mask the unfurling sin

The siren’s call belies the ugly truth

Deeply held values are quickly replaced

Moving from Martin Luther King to Malcolm X

From “turn the other cheek” to “by any means necessary”

From Buddha Law to the Law of the Jungle

Relationship becomes obsession

“I will be King and you will be Queen”

Forgive the violence and the anguish and the inquisition

“It’s how it’s meant to be”

Energy in my palms

Speed and dexterity of thought

“So right it can’t be wrong”

Then why are my parents in tears?

Internal moves to the external

If the world is not right we will smash it and start again

The demons are moving fast now

Society catches up

Medium secure psychiatric unit

The bars are all in your mind, man

The wild animal is caged but not tamed

The cries of complaint nourish the delusions growth

Forced injections and the seclusion unit

Plastic mattresses and sliced white bread

A clinical environment and an unclinical patient

“James, we are here to help”

They are here to help

Monsters recede, revealing humans after all

From rock bottom a ray of light appears

Warm sun beams reach the back of the cave

Now the real work begins

The origin of each thought must be ascertained

Reality and delusion, good and bad

Once the train leaves the station, it travels too fast to stop

The psychosis lives in a dark corner, hidden from view

We shine the light from every direction, exposing its writhing body

Honesty and openness form the vessel

Trust and understanding, the calm ocean breeze

This sea-change of insight is profound and moving

The whole landscape shifts

The ecosystem that supports unhealthy thoughts is gradually dismantled

Golden spirit is growing strong

Black clouds pass, yet still I can see the sun

The tide sweeps in, yet the foundations remain strong

The drug like rush courses through the body, yet the rational mind transcends

Destiny returns, in true form.

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