Sunday, 22 June 2014

Secret World of Springfield II

I live down the road from Springfield Hospital. When I was in school I used to walk through the grounds everyday, it was much quicker than going all the way around. In later years I would visit friends admitted and recovering in the wards, my experience of the place was constantly evolving with the stories of people who lived there. 

It's a surreal place Springfield, a world of its own with lots of different Victorian buildings, some derelict and forgotten others home to people. Over the years I've explored most of it, but the last few weeks. I've discovered lots of new things including a labyrinth, a red post box, a secret garden and stone fish. 

My visits reminded me of this poem I wrote years ago:

Another Springfield Fugitive

I was sitting in Pret,
one wet and windy day,
in Fulham Broadway.
I was drinking tea
when he came towards me
I'm free, I heard him bellow
this crazed anonymous fellow-
I was discharged
from Springfield
no longer will I wield
to the guardsmen,
in that battlefield
I thought- how strange
was he really rendered free,
or was he just another 
Springfield escapee?
and how strange to cross paths
with another bummer,
another outlaw, another outpatient-
another runner.

Springfield, I asked him,
in Tooting?
I was routing
for him
for some reason
I was routing
for this coffee shop bogeyman
I was sectioned, came his reply.
But why?
My time came,
I was set free-
Three chances,
I need to get back
to Catford...
I took some coins
from my pocket
and handed them to him
and he left-
bereft, and grateful

But by giving him 70p
would I help him to see
the light?
Or would he just scare
the living day-lights
out of ordinary people,
people like you and I
and everyone we know?

mad one.
Run away from here,
but don't scare

Hmm but maybe,
I should have asked him-
What's in Catford son-
That made you want to run
away? -don't lie.
And why
am I
tasked with you're escape?
Break free-
return, by turning
back now.
But how?

I remembered when
he had killed a man,
another Springfield escapee 
who had been 'set free'-
By a herd of deer
in Richmond Park.
I wondered then,
who lent him the money
to get there-
life is funny
but in a sad way.
we learn
from our mistakes.
-these silent aches,
may they not break

Once a friend
on the mend
went into Springfield
she escaped too
they brought her back,
 in a police car
-scars were visible
she wanted to take her bones for a run
She did what she thought had to be done!
Without a penny to her name- she escaped,
and traipsed around Tooting Town.

What a strange world!

I know another who went in,
and did not come out the same
she did not remain herself,
she became someone else
a shell of her former self,
She became,
someone I didn't know
or recognise. 

So many have walked
through the gates of Springfield-
names I cannot name
for they must remain
But I swear,
they were there-
they were all there
and they all come out altered
-and they faltered perhaps
those women and men
in lab-coats
I mean, 
who knows what they did to them, 
help, brand or render them

Out-patients of this world, 
outlast them-
you can love. 

On the board by the labyrinth the following was written:

'the labyrinth awaits our discovery for it will guide us through the troubles of our lives into the grand and mysterious patterns that shape the web of creation.'