Alfred William Smith


Henley Regatta, what a show
Champagne and strawberries
Businesses, credit cards, flights from Heathrow
I’ve lived in Tunisia, Greece, Marbella too,
All of these places, to name but a few
Many lives, a lot to tell
But then my memories were hit by a shell
One day I fell right on my arse
And came in by ambulance first class.

It’s not a nice thing being dead for two years
In hospital facing all those fears
With schizophrenics and depressives, bi-polars and pepsi-colas
And friends coming to see you when you’re lost.

It comes up on you fast without you knowing
You’re in the trap before you can act
A lonely world a barren land
Memories slipping through like sand
I was 16 stone but went down to 11
The psychiatrist said you’re going to heaven
I said it would get me out of this vice I’m in
He said electric shocks is an option and in the end I agreed.

I was given a second chance
But I couldn’t quite find my personality
Couldn’t quite get back my full reality
Then I started getting better from somewhere in me
And I didn’t see it coming, that nasty thing called depression.


Alfred was not able to attend the writing workshops for this project because he was in Prospect Park and subsequently in Heatherwood Hospital. He wrote to us: ‘the last time you called I had to leave the hospital to go into the garden to get reception, and while I was talking to you it was raining hard. I was under a fir tree getting soaked. I didn’t mind – thanks for everything you have done.’ This poem is inspired by Sarah.