The Man on the Street

There goes the man
Who talks to himself
Muttering nonsense
Out loud; not under his breath

He looks dishevelled
His hair out of place
Clothes all tattered
Sunken eyes on his sallow face

He waves his arms
As if swatting a fly
But the reality is
There’s no one standing by

People avoid him
Out on the streets
Teens think he’s funny
While kids get scared and weep

They call him crazy
They think he’s nuts
But none approach him
As they don’t have the guts

What they do not know
Is why he behaves such
And seeming with reality
So completely out of touch

What goes on in his head
Alas! They do not hear
Those phantom voices
That only he hears loud and clear

The voices, they tell him
He’s good for nothing
And just a worthless git
Who’d be a lot better off dead

People are watching
His every little move
Or so the voices tell him
And the staring eyes are proof

He wants the voices to stop
But he knows not a cure
As he hasn’t told anyone
And doesn’t know others can’t hear

The solution finally comes
To him on a gloomy day
The only way to stop them
Is if he were to go far, far away

So in his downtrodden home
He sat with a knife
Stabbing the sounds out of him
Thereby taking his very own life

At last he was at peace
The man from the street
The voices no longer spoke
As his maker he would meet

The people did not notice
His absence was not felt
There no longer was the man
Muttering loudly to himself

***This has been written for One Single Impression Prompt 177 and Magpie Tales Prompt 74***

Disclaimer: Schizophrenia affects 24 million people worldwide as of 2011. It is more common in males than females with an earlier age of onset in the former group. The prevalence of schizophrenia varies across different countries. Contrary to popular belief, people suffering from schizophrenia are more at a risk of harming themselves than others.

Until next time,


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  • Stafford
    18 July 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Very sad state of affairs well expressed.
    One of my dear grandchildren has schizophrenia. Notice I did not say ‘suffers’ because she takes her medication and is a very successful wife and lawyer. We have come a long way since the lunatic asylum but we have not helped the homeless mentally ill, have we! 

  • Tess Kincaid
    18 July 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Lyrical and so very sad.

  • Sioux
    18 July 2011 at 9:58 pm

    What a moving Magpie. We don’t know how many people we lose and have lost, due to suicide and mental illness…It’s wasted potential…

  • Psych Babbler
    18 July 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Welcome here Stafford! It is also a common misconception that if a person
    has schizophrenia they cannot do anything about it or their life is pretty
    much over but your granddaughter is a perfect example of how it can be
    managed. Unfortunately, those that slip through the cracks in the system are
    the homeless and the poor….

  • Psych Babbler
    18 July 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Thanks Tess for the lovely comment…

  • Psych Babbler
    18 July 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Welcome here Sioux! Mental illness is manageable but unfortunately some
    people think the only way out is death. The hopelessness and helplessness
    takes over every aspect of their lives. And it’s the homeless and similar
    individuals who struggle even more due to lack of access to services and
    education about mental illness.

  • Winnie the poohi
    18 July 2011 at 11:49 pm


  • Prateek
    19 July 2011 at 12:29 am

    This is sad. Moving in a better world on such an expense. 

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 1:51 am

    Sad but true sometimes Winnie…some people do end their lives in this
    manner to get rid of the symptoms especially if they know of no ways to
    manage it such as through appropriate medication

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 2:21 am

    It is sad that some individuals probably only see that as their way out
    especially as they don’t know what is available….

  • soulmate
    19 July 2011 at 5:15 am

    First, brilliantly expressed…
    Do you also deal with such cases? I have seen such men on the streets many times. First thing that comes to my mind is, give them enough piece of clothing to cover thmeselves, since the passers by consider them as a show piece and make fun of them.. How do we deal with such people..

  • Jo Bryant
    19 July 2011 at 5:34 am

    So powerful, and powerfully sad. 🙂

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 5:54 am

    Thanks Soul! Well, since I work mainly with kids and adolescents I have only
    dealt with a few homeless adolescents — they tend to live in refuges. The
    situation becomes more dire when they are adults and are homeless because
    then, they live on the streets. Education is the key for everyone in general
    — those with and without mental illness. I think it helps those without a
    mental illness to understand what exactly someone with a mental illness is
    going through and it helps the person with a mental illness realise there
    are ways to manage the same. It’s hard…and sadly many fall through the
    cracks in teh system world over

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 5:55 am

    Welcome here Jo! Thanks for the lovely comment! 🙂

  • David king
    19 July 2011 at 8:35 am

    Well done, it works excellently and avoids all the usual pitfalls.

  • Itisnu
    19 July 2011 at 12:30 pm

    congratulations for appearing here: http://indiantopblogs.blogspot.com/p/directory-of-best-indian-blogs.html

  • Ramesh Sood
    19 July 2011 at 12:55 pm

    When none  listened to him
    He preferrred to talk with his own self
    Inside the warmth of our homes
    So many of us too need a lot of help….

    Out in the street they say it loud
    Within the walls whispers are voices
    Feeling lonely, wondering , crying and laughing
    Many wait for the day to come, no  other choices..

    Thanks dear… you inspired this and it happened spontaneously… Let us all lend ears to each other.. and that’s what this space does.. tell me how many will understand or listen to us if we were to speak what we write here??????

    God bless!!!!!

  • Titaxy
    19 July 2011 at 2:19 pm

    moving…sad…very well written.

  • Other Mary
    19 July 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Heartbreaking, and unfortunately all too common.

  • Hdwoonie23
    19 July 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Your Magpie is simply amazing … full of compassion, understanding – very deep.  I suspect someone I love very much in my family is wrestling with this.

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Those were beautiful lines Ramesh…thanks for sharing them. And yes, this
    is the best space to educate people about issues and well, to give a shout
    out to help…

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Welcome here David! And thanks for the lovely comment!

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks Nu! I was stoked to find that out a few weeks ago 🙂

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Thanks T! I’m glad you think so… 🙂

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Welcome here Other Mary! I agree…the sad thing is that this is not

  • Psych Babbler
    19 July 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Welcome here Hdwoonie! Thanks for the lovely comment! I hope the family
    member you are referring to can ccess the help they need to manage this
    illness…because the truth is, it is manageable.

  • Raindrop
    20 July 2011 at 4:34 am

    Brilliant poem!

  • Psych Babbler
    20 July 2011 at 5:08 am

    Thanks Raindrop for the lovely comment! 🙂

  • Vinita Kherdekar
    20 July 2011 at 6:58 am

    A sad poem…but penned so well that it wrenched at my heart. 

  • Lazy Pineapple
    20 July 2011 at 7:00 am

    A heart rendering poem…very well penned.

  • Psych Babbler
    20 July 2011 at 7:59 am

    Long time no see LP. Thanks for the lovely comment!

  • Bikram
    20 July 2011 at 9:19 am

    Oh God.. why ..
    Sad poem ..
    don’t we all do that , see someone like this and walk by them turning our back .. I dont know why we are so afraid to talk to them , to hear them ..

    wish mankind learnt to be good to each other ..


  • Psych Babbler
    20 July 2011 at 10:33 am

    Definitely…I think we are all guilty of ignoring someone in need…especially the mentally ill…we are quick to judge but hesitant to help…

  • Deepthi
    20 July 2011 at 4:43 pm

    So sad:( and so true…We can make a huge lot of diifference to some people around us with just a smile or just listening to them.. 

    Very well written…

  • CC Champagne
    20 July 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I like the poem and can relate to anyone with mental problems (even though I’ve thankfully avoided the schizophrenia family – so far). It is a horrifying feeling when you feel like no one will ever be able to understand! In any case, this made me think a lot and I liked it. I have a quick question on the disclaimer, though… Why is it contrary to popular belief that sufferers of schizophrenia are more prone to self harm? I would have thought popular belief would go with the numbers on this one… Just curious. Thank you for making all those little grey get a work-out!

  • Lucy Westenra
    20 July 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Sad and moving. Thank you for letting readers see this.

  • Psych Babbler
    20 July 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks Deepthi! In our busy lives and negative views about the homeless and
    mentally ill we seem less likely to lend a helping hand. But if we do it
    could make a huge difference to someone’s life…

  • Psych Babbler
    20 July 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Welcome here CC! Thanks for the comment. The popular belief about
    individuals with psychosis is that they will harm others in a fit of
    psychotic rage or when experiencing hallucinations and hence, people tend to
    avoid a psychotic person on the street or at the shops. Hope that helps
    explain the disclaimer.

  • thingy
    21 July 2011 at 3:09 am

    This is so filled with compassion. Brava.

  • Psych Babbler
    21 July 2011 at 4:16 am

    Welxome here Thingy! Thanks for the lovely comment…

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  • Psych Babbler
    21 July 2011 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for recognising my blog. I’m stoked!

  • writerzblock
    22 July 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Gosh! That was hair-raising. A ordinary day-to-day incident dealt with so beautifully in your strong poem. Very nicely written PB.
    (PS: Nit-picking: there is a small typo here: ‘He wants to voices to stop’)

  • Psych Babbler
    22 July 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks Pal! And thanks for pointing out the typo…will correct it!