The Container of Abandoned Minds

There is a place
Where standardised thought
Will lead, if you care to go.
Why so few see, where the path leads on
Is hard to say, or know.

The road takes little effort
As it slopes and twists and winds,
But when you arrive, you’ll know the place;
The container of abandoned minds.

Its walls are sheer consensus
Their surface, entirely flat
They almost seem to absorb the light
They’re so utterly grey and matt.

And all the sounds are deadened
The many voices, stilled

For the Container of Abandoned Minds
Is crushingly, shockingly filled.

Its inhabitants are all relieved
From the strain of a complex life,
Where grace and suffering mend the world
And receive the surgeon’s knife.

No healing there,
Through pain or joy
They are offered this instead;
That all the world become the same
And the living obey the dead.

There is a place
Where standardised thought
Will lead, if you care to go.

The container of abandoned minds
Don’t say you didn’t know.

Sarah de Nordwall 2006

Written for, and performed at, the meeting at the House of Lords with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Conscience and Belief.

With thanks to Paul Hoggett for his masterful phrase
‘The Container of abandoned Minds’ which I found in the meltingly marvellous chapter ‘The Institutionalisation of Shallowness’ in his book ‘Partisans in an Uncertain World’, lent to me by John Boyle, Psychotherapist and instigator of many interesting conversations.

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