Six Months from Solitude

The final hospital poem, expressing my frustration after nearly six months of confinement. I've always treasured time alone, and I was running out of cope-ability. I went home a couple of weeks after I wrote this poem.

I feel locked up.
But I'm not so much locked up
As confined.
Confined to a small room with five other people.
Five ordinary people like myself
Who have come to this room
Because they were involved in an accident,
Or because they needed a surgeon's attention.

The same five people haven't been here all along.
There have been changes—
A large number of changes, in fact.
At this stage there have been sixty-four other people here
Since I came to this room.

I've been here almost six months now;
A long time.
Too long.
I've long since become used to the routine
Of life here;
But now it's beginning to pall.

After being confined for so long
With five people
In so small a place,
I would dearly love to be home;
Or anywhere.
Anywhere to get away from people for a while.
To be alone
Just for a while—
Truly alone—
Would be heavenly.

I've been here too long.
My patience seems to be wearing thin.
It's too easy to become depressed.
Too many little, inconsequential things
Upset me,
Too easily.
I've become too demanding.
Home seems so far away
That I've almost forgotten what it's like.
In fact, the outside world seems so far away
That it's almost totally irrelevant.
Things which happen in the world
May as well be happening
In another galaxy
For all they affect me.
Here they go almost unnoticed.

You know, I miss that crazy mixed-up world
Out there
(Incredible though that may seem),
And I'll be glad to be a part of it again
When I finally get back out there.

However, although I miss that world,
With its hustle and bustle,
Its people,
And its problems,
There is something that I miss even more—
Even that world outside,
Mad as it is,
Provides one with enough freedom
To be alone at times—
Away from people
And their problems.

I think that's what I miss most of all
In this room.

• Written 16 January 1971. Copyright © 1999-2010 Alien Son. All rights reserved.

One Isolated Incident