I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

22 April 2017


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (Harlan Ellison)

You have taken my mouth, 
stolen it from me, 
sealed it up with chemicals.
What you seek to remove
is the scream, 
but it still lives inside me.
You thought you could freeze it 
into silence; instead
it is dammed up, and pushing
against the restraining wall.
It will break out –
it will reach the edge
and roll over it, pouring
into utterance. And then
you should watch out.

Written for Magaly's prompt: "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (title of a short story by Harlan Ellison) for day 21 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Also linked to Protest and Outrage: Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month, 2017

I'm thankful not to have read the Ellison story; it sounds horrendous from the title alone! My poem is not autobiography but a fictional persona, based on things I have learned about psychiatric hospitals of the sixties and early seventies. 


  1. Oh this poem reads even better after reading your note. Those institutions of the 60's and 70's were fearsome places, from everything I have read...........I can well imagine the suppressed screams.........

    1. I was thinking also of people whose disturbances were damped down chemically, in an attempt to contain and quieten them, rather than allowed expression and release.

  2. Those silenced scream have a way to burst out to blast the one who forced them back. Watch out, indeed.

    And yes, the Ellison's story is a terrible tale. Like I mentioned in the prompt post, is one of the few pieces of fiction that has truly scared me.

    1. Oops, spelling of his name now corrected. Better give him his credit due, even if it is for being successfully terrifying.

  3. I have known more than one individual, whose screams were pushed down with chemicals, it can do irreparable damage.


  4. Also a great metaphor for our world today. I scream and no-one listens. Should save my breath since I am, in effect, silenced:
    my mouth closed.

  5. Oh that chemical silence is horrendous.

  6. humans are so adept at carnage ~

  7. A witch forced to "hold her tongue" is always going to end badly for someone lol :D XXX

    1. I think any kind of suppression is liable to have bad effects on anyone.

  8. The idea of chemical silence is horrifying!!

  9. This is a terrifying narration. I can't even begin to imagine the horror one goes through.

  10. This absolutely works on the level you set out to express yourself as described, but it also works wonderfully outside that framework as analogy for those whose voices have been metaphorically stolen.

  11. You know, I like to be positive. But history has shown your words to be true.

  12. I like this, Rosemary. Your poet will break silence in due time, I can tell by the dialog with self she/he was having.
    I am sorry to b a day late in coming to read. Things happened.

  13. This is such a powerful piece, Rosemary! I think it reflects the world right now. Too many are being silenced and the pressure is building.

  14. Seems the volcano never sleeps, it can be quiet, but underneath it festers and boils... I feel those screams when the sedation is not administered or wears off will be powerful, the eruption uncontainable, and damage to person and surrounding landscape even larger after an outlet for those silent screams is found.


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