Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday 16th August 1943

A running, intermittent fight with the bugs last night. Once I awoke and the moon was looking very peculiar; this was because a partial eclipse was at it's height. The battle continued all the night, and I killed the last bug at 6 a.m. - except for nine bugs which I subsequently found and killed whilst making my bed.

Parade this morning... after some waiting in squads we were detailed for various fatuous jobs. I was told to pick up paper; in the best Base Depot RA manner. I protested and expected to be transferred to one of the barbed wire enclosures. But there was this difference between Almaza and this mental hospital – here my request was allowed.

Eventually I was conducted to the Psycho-Therapy Centre. “What would you like to do?” asked the Sister i/c, “Basket work, wood carving, embroidery...?” “No. I'd like to write poetry,” I said. I was then conducted to a large cool room where two quiet men were dusting benches. Drawings and paintings hung around the walls. This was, in fact, the drawing room. A very pleasant place. The air lay still. The Sister gave me a pencil and paper, after we'd finished cleaning the room, and said, “There! Now write poetry!” Just like that!

Well, I'm not such a fluent writer that I can dash off pages of rhyme to order, but at any rate, I've found a Retreat.


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