Roll up, roll ’round, curve over, curve down, he said,
waves on the sea, beating/beating/beating,
pounding and grasping him, holding him down.
Dark cold waves, a dull, deep sheen, a deep, hard green,
shush!, tears lashed from the cusp,
their crash breaking his back and rolling the head off his shoulders.
They whisper, these sirens, as they curl and they smash
and demand he hear what isn’t there. He listens.

There are no unbelievers who go down to this sea to sink
beneath its waves, because it is, I know, only him that can hear him.
Sunrise to sunrise, pay this/pay that, naught for free/always a fee,
it has taken him, it has left him, it will forever surge
around him and through him, a storm raging in the lee
that he should be, but is not. He will weep this way eternally,
ever with this dark green sea, this lost salty sea, this rolling big sea,
that’s him, aright, yes him…there is no land in sight. He is lost.


Mental illness is a terrible burden both for the individual and the family, but especially when it is possible to see through the facade of the disease into the beauty of the mind and soul lost beneath the affliction.

Thank you for reading Schizophrenia. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken from Gay Head point, Martha’s Vineyard island, Massachusetts. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.



Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “Schizophrenia

  1. This is beautifully written. It is one of my favourites now.