'Cage' is a fictional work centred on the lives and welfare of a community of demented elderly patients who inhabit a ward in an outdated Victorian asylum in the early 1980's. A student nurse arrives to start her psychiatric placement there, and, over the next eight weeks, she, the patients and those who care for them are portrayed in various situations from the banal to the abusive. In an environment where standards of care fall below the ideal, she acts as witness and potential agent of change.
The work is arranged as an integrated rhythmic sequence of narrative prose, poems and conversational monologues (mostly in Borders Scots) in which the patients speak as themselves before they became ill. The poems have all been derived from the prose sections and related material using original techniques devised specifically for this project out of the conventions of found poetry.
In 'Cage', language events and prosodic practice correlate to the liminal and broken discourse of the patients as it tapers into silence and dislocated meaning.