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Asylum Dancers

I never asked or wished to know
why the men and women slowly emerged
from the asylum, to dance in the road,
in front of its huge wooden gates,
across from our home.
I assumed this was part of their therapy,
as was the tidy rows of canvas stacked
at their amazing annual painting exhibition,
filled with garish crazy daubs,
like Picasso gone nuts touched
by nuclear fission or monkeys
on a decorating mission.Till one
came over and stuttered in my ear,
"I...It...Its a weekly celebration
of our escape from your insane world."
He twirled and whirled away,
squirting between people hurrying past,
with eyes averted.

8 Nov 05

Rated 9.1 (8.3) by 9 users.
Active (9): 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (11): 1, 5, 5, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10

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(214 more poems by this author)

(16 users consider this poem a favorite)

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oooo. wow. this poem drew me and wouldn't let me go. I haven't figured out whether it is dark or joyful, maybe it is both. All I know is it is very well done, and I like it.
 — scarlet_muse

Boy, is this to the point, beautifully crafted.  Everything depends on your perspective, absolutely shown here.  Squirting between people. Clear line.

Very good at description without letting that get in the way of the story.
 — Isabelle5

mmmm  ... you never asked or wished to know, yet you find out anyway.  The asylum dancers make themselves clear to the "sane" world at last and anyway.  The truth is out and is a simple truth for a happy celebration.  Bearing the sanity of the world on "our" shoulders is too much for us to want to know much about what goes on in the "insane" world, but we find out how little it really means through the address of the asylum dancer.  

I'd like to see this published with the best of them.  I mean, this is as good as it gets.  So much like Stephen Crane, too, who is a fav of mine, but even better than he.

 — cynthmala

l1 must be killed. will you consider poem with line 5, l4: all to kill l1.  
and simileeeez, l7-l12, kill them too, keep me in the moment. it will still be a wondery wonderful poem.  

 — unknown

^^ meant start your poem with l5, l4
i still rate 8.
 — crepaway

Enjoyed the twist in perspective Larry. Liked the way the narrator's viewpoint has changed. Agree the read draws you in and makes you think.

P :0)
 — badger11

Thanks scarlet muse ,glad you liked it.
 — larrylark

Dear Isabelle

your incisive comments are gratefully received ,as always.
 — larrylark

Dear Cynthmala
you have made the week end here in the lark house seem like a rainbow is arced over the house


 — unknown

 — varun

Thanks cp
 — larrylark

Dear Varun

I appreciate you taking the time and trouble to read.

 — unknown

just wondered, was the comma before 'squirting' in line 16 meant to be like that?
 — unknown

thanks for spotting that varun - fixed it,
 — larrylark

Haha. I love the last stanza, it's so clever. Nice poem.
 — lonelygirl

Dear Lonely girl

Thanks for reading and appreciating
 — larrylark

ah, Larry, this is wonderfully done: the voice clear and strong, your images are wonderfully crafted, the first stanza sets up the poem as a picture to be seen from a window somewhere in rainy England, watching the world passing by outside.  You have made the insane so very livable and human: "monkeys on a decorating mission" - brilliant.  Line 9 - favorite.  LIne 18 - do you mean the people's eyes are averted?  If so, would you consider changing this line to read, "their eyes averted"
What a lovely treat on a cold and rainy day.  Thanks!  You know, poetry keeps my sanity safely at bay ... or whatever has been categorized as such.  
 — slancho

Maria, the very things your questioning are why I like line 18 the way it is.  It leaves you wondering who is avoiding looking at whom.  I think that is a brilliantly ambiguous line.
 — Isabelle5

yeah, line 18 is great the way it is and the ambiguity is delicious, maybe I was being too technical and picky this morning ... maybe it is academic sucking my brain out ...
 — slancho

I love line 17,
"squirting between..."
is such a cool image. Well put.
 — Krttika

what's the thought behind keeping it 'in' and not 'on' in line 3?
 — varun

This is beautiful.
I had to add it to my favorites.

I love this!
 — likeavirus

nice. I love
and i kinda wish i could go with them :)definitely a 9. and an instant favorite
 — ravenfalls

Dear Slancho,

I really appreciate the time and trouble you took and your comments were very interesting

 — larrylark

Dear, Larry!
I certainly welcome the opportunity to comment on poems such as yours and the reciprocity they evoke in my head.  
Your writing is very interesting ...
 — slancho

Wonderful piece...  The beautiful rationale of the insane.  Kudos.
 — Thorne

DEear Kritta

I've just squirted onto the board to thank you for your appreciation of that image

Larry little squirt Lark
 — unknown

Very good. Very evocative.
 — joe9068

Dear Joe

Thanks for reading

 — larrylark

thanks for the comments.
in response to one of yours:
i partly agree with my mother.
i love writing and the sense of awareness it gives me.
however, i doubt it will ever bring me recognition or income.
 — pull_my_hair

i am so sorry for the last comment.
it was meant for scarlet muse as you might have guessed.

however, this piece of yours is quite lovely. good work.
 — pull_my_hair

i don't like this

its fake.

sort of hall of fake poetry wall marked.

even the rhythm and cadence of alliteration is predictably workshop schoolish. and i'm surprised you didn't use the word 'even'. kudos there for you.

you'd think from all your comments this piece were wonderfully tweaked, nuanced and all that

but i find it predictably stale.

for example: see within:

Asylum Dancers  

I never asked or wished to know  1
why the men and women slowly emerged  2
from the asylum, to dance in the road,  3
in front of its huge wooden gates,  4
across from our home.  5 **** this preamble could go -- a piece like this would be much stronger starting right in on "i assumed"
I assumed this was part of their therapy,  6
as was the tidy rows of canvas stacked  7
at their amazing annual painting exhibition,  8
filled with garish crazy daubs,  9 ***********  ah! garish is good.


what does that mean?

we know. the title says asylum. we know from the get go. ok. so the narrator, speaker is revealing his/her own hidden 'bias' (i use that word sparingly)

ok. so this is a little poem. your wasting precious space.

one would be ok. but then we get it again -- bam bam -- the next line:

like Picasso gone nuts touched  10 *** ah. here we go again.

now its filler or just plain lazy writing i figure

or what i call preemptive lethargy: ie: extreme the picture while mullifying the reader so that our protagonist will have some amazing conversion by the end of the piece

ah. a little didactic poem.

unfortunately -- it does the thinking for me. albeit surreptiously.

ie: these types of poems in my humbled estimate are pernicious to the sole of the reader

it wants me to think but in its own thinking way

in other words: poetic propaganda



ok. lets see then.

btw: i thought Picasso was nuts

anyway -- i think you could get a lot more mileage here on your use of subjunctive

by nuclear fission or monkeys  11 ****** ah. ok. monkeys

i like that. but why did you choose that?

i know its obvious -- but i want to question all of MY assumptions

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee< br />

on a decorating mission.Till one  12
came over and stuttered in my ear,  13

"I...It...Its a weekly celebration  14
of our escape from your insane world."  15 **** ok. cool.

here we get the inversion.

did you see that movie 'proof' with hopkins -- where he says that a truly insane person could never 'admit' it

which reminds me of the joke about how the woman fakes it so she can get into the asylum cause the food is free and its better than jail

the reason i mention this is cause

well dang. beats me. i don't know.

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeee

He twirled and whirled away,  16 *** lemme guess:

he was wearing ballerina shoes?

squirting between people hurrying past,  17 ***** ah. he's a tube of picasso paint then? does he smell like dove?

cool i like this part. it brings in poetry nicely i think. you should have expanded here and contracted on your 'crazy/nuts" bit

i am seeing an impastoed toad now.

toad. not monkey. mind you.

with eyes averted.  18 ***unfortunately there is an antecedent to this splice -- which makes it all the more cliche.

i think you would have done well to make it clear -- unambiguous that the averted eyes were the monkeys

this because we've finished the piece with dialogue so to speak -- between the speaker and monkey --

(as good as it gets)

no wait. i mean that here we have another piece of psych 101 -- unfortunately not nuanced enough.

i can see the people hurrying past but staring initially and then turning away -- i can see that clearly having seen that

and what you have is clearcut poetic establishment

ie -- yes -- sorry the poetically sane world

oh bumma. i blew my cova

oh dang

sorry. time for my pills.

must go.


thank you for allowing my comment to your piece

Doyouthinkyoucouldgroommewhenicomeback is my name
 — unknown

your awfully rambunctious for a monkey

someone ought whack your bum with a banana leaf!!!!
 — unknown

I reckon this is very good.  Loved it!
 — CervusWright

'i don't descriminate against the insane, nor the sane'

what is 'normal' ?

what is 'bias'?

can thought be compartmentalized. how bout memory.

what percentage of your daily thoughts would you say are 'sane' and what percentage are 'insane'

have you ever had an 'insane' thought?

all writing, by virtue of being thought, is 'biased' one way or another.

do you really think you can find writing that matches the calibre of lets say Ashbery at this site?

that fukin pirouetter?

i can envision what your poem would look like -- a fukin headache combined with a fukin pain in the ass

one would need a spitoon at ones disposal while reading it over a bidet with one of those hats with beer pump while singing 'ay ay . . . gonna be a revolution'


but yes. you would be communicating.


 — unknown

judging from si spacing

in postes

it si sort of si obvious dat si last serveral posters are one and de same

yes. dis is de case.

apart from si human papillon virus cervixed inbetween

Detective Deejay
 — unknown

 — unknown

beautiful imagery.
 — sodapop


very intarestink, I say.

I say, very intarestink.
 — unknown

True--folks get it backwards sometimes when it comes to who is aware of the greater aspects of right and wrong and the real unseen and/or hidden nature of existence. Sometimes the ill are closest to true good health, like the genius who walk a fine line between mental illness and high understandings...towards goodly mastery including dancing freely but not crazily, too abnormally, etc. I thought this was going to be about Arabia. It had that desert feel until the last "commentary". Glad to know you have an understanding of unwell humans who sometimes aren't as unmindful and unaware as made to be and/or perceived.
Mental institutions are some of the most weird and cynical places I've ever been--most of the upper caregivers are pro-pharmaceutical to the utmost and subtly abusive, working long overtime shifts in a job that really requires shorter shifts and very well-rested mature and humble persons. Their reasoning is that well, it's far better than the past and most of the ill would be lost otherwise, but many miss the middle path in effectively positive healing, althought he care is very high. They sort of scare people healthy to get out of there where I had to stay (due to a later-diagnosed rabies infection once, which I told them I had been bitten and had two puncture wounds in my leg and was losing it, and other for smoking unknowingly moldy pot that almost killed me but didn't make me insane- just very symptomatic hearing prolonged ringing, abnormal noises, etc.). Anyways, I opened psychically greatly through the process. -C
 — unknown

Dear Unknown

Thanks for your very interesting and fascinating comments. They are truly appreciated.

Larry bonkers Lark
 — larrylark

Go blow yourself! Just kidding. You're welcome.
 — C

Dear C

I've huffed and I've puffed but nothings happened. Am i doing something not quite right.

Larry old blower Lark
 — larrylark

Sorry about my dumb lewd comment. An older guy next to me said blow me to a nurse earlier- we were in a full room and it percolated in me until I repeated it in a different way. I stereotyped you being like him for some reason. I don't communicate like that and feel low and wrong about it-- it was like I needed to get back at him for such a dirty way of addressing her. I took it out on you and your critics. Sorry everyone. I guess I needed to try being playful with it after his example but gees, I'm a grown male. I don't feel like one often...Dad was rarely around but he didn't do such ever...acted it a bit in moments but kept it quieter. Please excuse my interruption.
 — C

Sorry for the bad dirt.
 — C

Fantastic.  Three trips to the loony bin for me, and the final stay was most certainly an escape from insanity - for me, a normal response to an abnormal set of circumstances - besides, does it count if a loony spouse signs you in?  No matter, I stayed away from the craft and mosaics, but really loved the bi-polar artwork tacked up willy-nilly in some wards.  Hot pinks, purples and greens, and so much enthusiasm!  

This is wonderful, Larry.  You've captured *something* about the residents that I remember, the way we were focused on or glanced at, when our ward went for walks out into the 'real' world, and I feel no judgment from the poem, merely observation and compassion.  I love it.  Favourite.  It's great when these gems pop up in the recently commented box again.  On ya :)
 — CervusWright

Oh, shit.  I HAD already commented.  Still nuts, it appears :D  Never mind, I've rated it now.  (10)
 — CervusWright

Dear CW

I recommend gin and a good laxative one hour before reading this site.

Larry running free Lark
 — unknown

wow, i had to read that one over a few times before i understood, just who was sane, and who wasn't.

 — KaraQ

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