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Associate site

The International R.D. Laing Institute

 



Colloquia Topics Index [link]Art & Literature Index



Ametric Elegy1
for R.D. Laing

by
Thomas Atwood

 
Psychiatrists called you poet;
Poets called you shrink.
If you had presented a priest,
Clergy might rush to call you shaman.
Though shaman wisdom
would soon recognize you
in jazz standards and a cocktail piano.
healer in a world gone mad,
branding you insane;
insistent old bottles
fighting over a label for new wine.

For us, your name
rolls off the tongue:
Ronnie,
friend,
Socratic muse to
exhausted,
dispossessed,
internalizing,
scapegoated souls.
Unmasking psychopathology of the norm,
Hours of disjunctive babble,
huddled communion
while disguised as another patient.

Debunking "normalcy's" shell game
as projection,
repression,
denial,
splitting,
introjection,
and the ever-popular:
herd instinct.

Proclaiming "abnormality"
as incongruence with
prevailing states of alienation!
Exposing the humbug wizard
hiding behind a curtain of
transpersonal invalidation.

Con-game shifts of
significance,
modality,
content,
memory;
none able to distract you
from watching the other hand.

Even the flimsy shams we masquerade as love
no match for the Great Houdini of the soul.
"A word more powerful members of a family use
to control less powerful members" indeed.
Planting truth mines in the road to denial.
The family as "protection racket."
Adaptation to "what"?
To a world gone crazy?
Sanity: our collusive madness.

Who presumes to trivialize
your healing legacy?
Shall we send Salieri
to tutor Mozart?
Let them call you Beelzebul
if it helps them feel safer from the truth;
I feel our kinship in the workings
of an understanding heart.
Thanks for the light, Dr. Laing.



© Thomas Atwood

Thomas Atwood makes his living as a technical writer in Silicon Valley.
His poetry envisions relationships among spiritual, psychological,
and scientific perspectives on the human condition


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