or Arrested Innocence
By Jennifer Sinclair Robertson
Key Themes: schizophrenia, daughter’s experience, psychosis, poetry, nature
Clarissa: or arrested innocence is a poignant collection of poems written by a mother in response to her daughter’s severe mental illness. These poems, crafted by an experienced poet, probe the pain of psychosis. The poet lays bare the isolation and frustration felt by the sufferer. She compares mental illness with the dangers of high speed motorbike racing. She draws on the legend of the Sleeping Beauty, the poems of Blake, Hopkins and Shakespeare, as well as using scenes from Scotland’s beautiful West Coast, from Edinburgh, St Petersburg and Warsaw to offer wide-ranging word pictures on a single theme: schizophrenia.
About the Author
Jenny Robertson is an experienced writer author of over thirty five books for adults and children, both fiction and non-fiction, including three collections of her own poetry. Her work has been read on Scottish Television and BBC radio and has been widely translated. She has taken part in poetry readings in Scotland, Russia and Poland.
Jenny’s world fell apart when her daughter spiralled into deep psychosis. Her response to this tragedy is contained in the poems she offers here.
“Wrenchingly beautiful, these poems offer one of the few consolations that suffering affords: that it sometimes prompts great art into life” – Dr Richard Holloway, Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council and Patron of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (Scotland)
“Each word falls bright and singing on the stones of our world.” – Leading Scottish poet, George Mackay Brown
The evening sun slants through glass
to touch your hair.
Your mind is full of the sound of the sea.
You have glimpsed the shy otter
at the end of the rocks, have heard
seals sing, seen heron and curlew fly.
Soon you will stand against the horizon,
ringed with fire,
an in-gathering of islands.
HOUSE FACING WINTER
Choosing the sunshine, I try to forget
she’s in the shadows, sleeping at noon-time.
I try to find comfort in bird-song, waken each morning
to cadences carolled from branches and bushes
while she is shuttered in her summer of stupor,
a full-blown June rose, beautiful, blighted,
living with me in this house facing winter.
The sun doesn’t brighten our windows, visit our garden.