Considering Harry by Tom Todd

I wrote this poem using selected extracts (pages 212-217) from Prince Harry’s book, ‘Spare’, and reflecting on the extent to which his writings might apply to all of us who act in ways consistent with what Robert Sapolsky, in his book ‘Behave’, calls ‘Us Versus Them’.

Considering Harry

I asked myself how I felt.

Prepared in every way.
Doing my job.
What we’d trained for.

I asked myself if I was callous,
Perhaps desensitised.

Among the many things I’d learned,
Accountability was near the top of the list.

You can’t really harm people if you think of them as people.
They were chess pieces removed from the board.
Bads taken away before they could kill.
I’d been trained to other-ise them.
Trained well.

On some level I recognised this learned detachment as problematic.


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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.