Both sides

Through voice2dialogue, we seek to bring all perspectives to the dialogue table. Our process establishes equity in a very practical way, even where status or power differences exist. It allows all those present to interrogate diverse viewpoints, transparently and fairly. In doing so, we encourage dialogue participants to move beyond stereotypes and misunderstandings.

This poem demonstrates the power that can come from sharing different perspectives; seeing a situation with new eyes. It captures the voice of Stephen Davis, who lives with mental illness and has also worked in mental health services as a counselor, welfare and case worker.

Conveying something of the interior dimensions of both consumer and carer, this poem reflects Stephen’s personal experiences and observations from both sides of the mental health "fence".

You fear the broken mirror in my eyes
from where you sit behind your glassy wall:
your careful watching distant cool disguise
that deafens you and blinds you when I call.

I see the danger rising in your face,
your angry shattered grim disfigured soul.
I feel the tension rising in this space:
impossible demands to make you whole

If only I could somehow make it clear
I doubt my strength to make it through this night.
If only I could speak to make you hear,
despair might just dissolve within the light.

I see your lonely anguish fear and pain
but grief runs dry, it will not flow again

This grace would bring its weary fragile peace:
to know you care to work for my release...

© Stephen Davis 2008

Click here for more of Stephen's poetry.

Stephen Davis holds copyright to the poem Both Sides, the poem's sound recording and his own photographic image.

Please contact Stephen Davis for permission to use this poem in written or audio form.

  Stephen Davis