Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ASYLUM, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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THE ASYLUM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I love my asylum
Last Line: We're afraid of going -- sane!
Subject(s): Psychiatric Hospitals; Mad Houses; Insane Asylums


I love my asylum,
My home in the skies,
Splashed with splendid color,
Drenched in dazzling dyes:
Clouds and winds and oceans,
Blue above -- below.
I love my asylum. . . .
But the other inmates? No!

All in our asylum
Are mad as can be.
I stick my tongue at them.
They stick their tongues at me.
And purple authorities
And gilded bloody gods
All rule in our asylum
With black whips and rods.

And men cry "Alleluia"
To hop-toads with wings;
And women love poodles;
And all love breaking things,
Love swearing and peering,
Love reptiles and lice. . . .
Yes, in my asylum
It isn't very nice!

But sometimes the windows
Are burst by magic dawns,
And then we see far vistas
Of star-embroidered lawns
Where rational angels
Are laughing like fun.
But, of course, in our asylum
It simply isn't done!

So one wears a crown,
One piles his gold in rows,
One balances a feather
On the end of his nose.
One's a sword-swallower,
One mumbles "One-two-three."
And all in our asylum
Are unhappy as can be.

For, you see, the whole trouble
(Though we're absolutely mad!)
Is, we fear a strange sensation
We have sometimes had.
So sometimes we huddle close
And clutch at heart and brain.
For I'll tell you what's the trouble:
We're afraid of going -- sane!





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