Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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Ken Steele used to call me his "poetry goddess" and I called him "the boss." Whenever I would call Ken with a query about my column, or just to "hi," he would always say "you are important." Ken had a knack for making people feel useful and necessary, and it was always genuine. He had an ability to emphasize one's talents and I always admired the seemingly effortless way he just made things happen.

Preparing the column for this issue has been a poignant affair for me, as I remember Ken's goodness (and greatness!), his Christmas parties, his gentle and jocular voice, his remarkable strength, the fact that he had done so much and still had so much to do.

Ken had an affinity for lighthouses and I always thought this quite fitting since he was a beacon of light to so many, he illuminated so many lives; he certainly lit up mine. I will miss you Ken but I take comfort in the thought that your good work and sweet soul are lighting up the paths of Heaven. Shine on, dear friend.


Mankind and the Mind

By Allison Williams

Mankind like the mind, infinite and intricate,
putting our minds together
we can accomplish whatever we desire,
putting the spiritual on a level higher.


Dare

By Michael Spennato

Dare to Care
Dare to be different
Dare to look at this world and existence
to have meaning and purpose
Dare to say No to those who wish
to change you
Dare to dream of a brighter future for Mankind
Dare to Dare


Thank You

By Nancy A. Cayton

To those who walk the earth, and weave together the hearts of peace.
To those who pray and hold strong to hope and faith, that there can
Be a better way. To those who can see beyond the shadowed reflection of a mirror.
To those who feel, know and give kindness. To those whose mission in
Life's cycles is to stay that constant concerning way, For
Yesterday tomorrow and today.
For those who stand gently, but firm in their convictions, all the
Way through.
From my heart to you
Thank you, thank you, thank you.


The Strength Within You

By Nancy A. Cayton

To walk in truth, to be at peace
A restless spirit is put at ease
What is life but to learn and grow
To know who and what you are
To truly know
To have purpose and meaning
Without wavering, without leaning
To master the heart's most inward fears
To know the meaning of falling tears
Yes, it is good to smile, it is sad to
Feel blue
When you finally come to know
The strength within you


Hero of 49th Street

By Alan Greenberg

For only six years we knew you Dear Ken,
A man of extraordinary selfless service—
following three decades of receiving zero
A beacon of light to the forsaken,
Welcoming all through the doors of your home
A trailblazing leader with distinguished, didactic humility
In your presence these great spiritual values brought all
Around you peace and tranquillity.
So many, many blind eyes you opened to the plight of the mentally ill,
Fighting despite great physical burdens -- painstakingly and
Never complaining with your steel-tempered, indomitable will.
Your compassionate heart for the most downtrodden and hopeless
Would unceasingly feel
For you were rarely, if ever, mindful of yourself and we were Blessed
To know you Ken Steele.
A soft-spoken, intellectually unrecognized, simple sociological genius you were;
But nevertheless, you will always remain as "the" founding, lion-hearted loudspeaker
Of future empowerment for those who despair;
And lastly, let me declare how and state this quite clearly --
You know God loves you dearly.

Alan Greenberg is a psychiatric survivor who knew Ken well for three years.


Ken Steele

By Moe Armstrong

Ken and I
Met in a hotel
Manhattan
We made a video,
about Person to Person
We worked with,
KPR Public relations
Worked with,
Janssen Pharmaceutica
My first contact with,
the pharmaceutical industry
My first contact with Ken
I was there with,
Jay Neugeboren
Who was writing,
a book,
called Transforming Madness
Ken, Jay and me,
all talked in the hallway
About our hopes for mental health
Our conversation wasn't about
What was wrong
Three of us knew that
We wanted to know,
to dream,
to believe in what was right
Many times later
Many trips later to Manhattan
Ken and I stayed in contact
We worked together,
on a virtual reality exhibit,
for schizophrenia
Ken published my articles
We spent hours together,
at NAMI conventions
He wasnıt hung up,
about being with NAMI
He didn't want to tear,
anybody down
He wanted to hope,
dream,
build,
a new day in mental health
Ken Steele died,
in October
I just came back from,
coming across America
Was thinking,
on the airplane
I need to get,
back to Manhattan
To see Jay and Robert,
Neugeboren
Maybe, this time,
I can see Ken Steele
It is too late
I will miss Ken Steele,
from the bottom of,
my heart soul
He had so much faith
He wanted to see better mental health
He was a driven force in mental health education
He cared for other people who suffer
He cared
I'm sitting over a keyboard,
crying
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