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By Maureen Oliver


ISBN: 978-1-84991-571-7
Published: 2006
Pages: 37
Key Themes: poetry, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, lesbianism, activism


This inspiring collection of poems was written over a twenty-five year period and documents the experiences and thoughts of Maureen during this most tumultuous period of her life. Her poems are warm and her language elegant. In the new genre of ‘mad poetry’ this is a key collection, written by one of its main exponents.

About the Author

Maureen Oliver is a lesbian artist and poet, a mother and grandmother, and a psychiatric survivor with a current diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder. This is her second book published through Chipmunka, her first ‘Breaking Down’ was published in early 2006.

Book Extract

Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue,
sighs and shining eyes,
stirring coffee and pining –
‘Oh secret sadness, oh tragedy,’
could I help him? Oh motherly me.
‘Let me talk to you, so sweet and kind,
so helpful, so nice, let me show you my mind.’
Oh charming, oh sad, emotionally pure,
you might think him sensitive,
you may well be wrong.
Oh, motherly ladies from Whitby to Poole
are waiting the visit of Little Boy Blue.
The ladies who understand sad little boys
are wanting to comfort him, offer him toys.
You might think him an angel,
you may be deluded.
The ladies who offered this cherub their all
are lying to husbands, some in the grave,
some knotted in strait jackets –
but the comfort they gave!
Some have taken to drink, some in therapy,
some gave him their money, some just offered tea.
Oh kindly ladies from Whitby to Poole
don’t give him sweeties, don’t warm him in bed,
don’t talk with him, offer him spiritual aid.
Your heart will be emptied, your soul will be raped –
for he swallows them whole, he digests them all,
those kind, helpful ladies from Whitby to Poole.


Trust, they tell me
is what I need.
‘Trust me, trust us and
we will pour oil on those
wounds, we will heal your pain,
if you only trust in us.’

The mask seems golden,
the smile benign,
light plays around the hollows
of the eyes,
russet shadows flicker lovingly
across cheekbones, and
I am enticed, almost under a spell.
Faltering, trusting, I reveal my secrets,
like some damned dance of the Seven Veils
in Hell, till, vulnerable in my innocence
I observe with horror that
dark lies and rude cruelty now
stain the welcoming visage, and,v
at the portal of Hades, I hesitate,
turn back to retrace my steps, but
flight is impossible for
he holds the seeds
of my soul in his palm – and
now winningly,
the therapist smiles –
showing his teeth.




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