Definitions - after W. C. Minor
by Oonah V. Joslin
Asylum, n., they could lock him up. Never set him free from
Escorted by demons he endured this
twenty years seeking definitions
He corresponded with booksellers.
Visited by vile hallucinations,
They could lock him up
They allowed him to die in D. C.
What is it to be mad but madness?
There was no definition at the time.
Ah, there’s a word!
[Author’s note] This poem is about an American, a madman, who was instrumental in the production of the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary whilst incarcerated in Broadmore Asylum, in the 19th century. He had committed a murder in London.
Copyright © 2009 by Oonah V. Joslin