Ward 11 by Margaret Raine

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I have held the hands of broken souls whose lives disintegrated

I have stemmed the blood from self-inflicted wounds

paced miles with those on ‘constant obs’ – down endless corridors

and countered suicidal arguments with gentlest persuasion.

Played useless games of draughts and dominoes in soulless dayrooms

passing time and hoping drugs would heal their pain.

I have sought to help them regain strength

to engage in the battle of life once more and live it to the full.

Walked with them through ‘the shadowy valley’

shared grief and rage in pastel painted rooms

Listened to their stories, borne witness to their suffering

until they could emerge with courage and determination

find self belief in power that would sustain them

Helped them help themselves through tribulations

we all must face and must survive or die.

Hope is the balm and antidote for despair

Most powerful medicine of all.

*****

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