Like a Fine Piece of China


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175 in stock


By John Ryan

ISBN: 978-1-84991-164-1
Published: 2010
Pages: 110
Key Themes: poetry, nervous breakdown, positivity



This collection of poems epitomises the journey of a mind experiencing a nervous breakdown.

Deeply felt and to the point, John addresses the specifics of his mental processes from the very start. Yet, particularly towards the end, there are hints of a slow recovery, a distinct sense of a single flame identifying the positive.

About the Author

Six years ago, one day changed John Ryan’s life for ever. Just another day at work, it seemed, until he was approached from behind by a much younger man, who buggered him with such force that John suffered a complete mental breakdown, which has lasted to this day.

This volume of poems is a detailed description of the journey of that breakdown.

John, now 63, is determined to recover that he hopes to begin a Degree at University in September 2010, reading Anthropology and Sociology.
This volume is dedicated to those who suffered with him during his three-time stay in a mental institution.

Book Extract

Among Friends

I’ve been up all night and now I’m tired,
it’s early morning but I am fired
with energy from all at this site
they’ve helped to make my load so light.
The reassurance is helpful indeed,
it’s helped me in my hour of need;
I’ll be coming back again and again
it’s taken away so much of the strain.
Thank you all for so much strength,
now I’ve got courage for so much of the length
of the road ahead, and it’s due to you,
thank you one and all: this is so true.


Anger that is suppressed is anger not at all:
this is how I have been angry all this long,
long time. Peaceful folk want lives of peace
– anger seems unnatural. But come this
righteous anger fully clothed in battle-dress
and life is changed fore’er.
Suppressing anger is the road to hell.
Unable to express it, let me tell,
is fatal; now I know just what to do –
this is my tale: it could be you.
“Don’t keep it all inside” they said
but me? I kept it all inside, to bed
I went with anger in my head.
The time had come to check my health
for I recognised not all the wealth
could compensate, were I to suppress by stealth
the smothering anger any more. Then I stepped
alone but with determination, slowly crept
to a safer, silent world of inner peace,
a peace that was a newer lease
of life, for suppression brought a world of pain
that made me sick, no longer sane.

It was then I realised that suppression made
for doom, and in my bed for days I laid
in torment; but now upon my bed I sleep
in peace, I pray my guardian angel keep
me so. My days of brutal pain are o’er:
my inner soul no longer tore
to shreds, for the lesson I’ve to tell
is simple: avoid the road to hell
by opening up to anger well.


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