Poetry Corner

Dignity and Pride.

Confused and dazed, he walks the ward day and night
Can’t tell the difference between dark between light.
Unsure of his stature or the role he’s to play
From pillar to post, he’ll wander all day.

His nurses are servants but he feels he’s in gaol
With all doors secured and no chance of bail
A fortress, a prison, his description not mine
He’s done nothing wrong but still serving time.

He just wants to leave and stands by the doors
And when someone nears, he begs, he implores
Please take me home, just get me out
So broken and tearful, he can’t even shout.

He’s adamant, proud but his eyes tell a tale
This once upright man is destined to fail.
He can’t be trusted to be on his own
For back to a baby, this old man has grown.

The highlight for him is a breath of fresh air
And have just one cigarette with the people “out there”
But once he’s outside, the panic sets in
He shuffles then freezes amidst all the din.

I don’t know his illness, dementia or worse,
Maybe it’s age or was he blessed with a curse?
He sits down to coffee then walks away
His coffee untouched from a brain now decayed.

A green yellow glaze discolours his eyes
And a vacant expression of thought, I surmise
Of constantly pacing the floor all day long
And asking himself, “where do I belong?”

This educated man once had thick golden hair
A scholar perhaps, quite suave, debonair.
Now the blond’s grey, his youthfulness gone
He needs special care, all day long.

I’m not his carer, I couldn’t handle the stress
He just wants his life back, no more and no less.
This could be you with your life totally wrecked
But you still have dignity so show some respect.

His life once so rich now lies in a heap
Memories treasured, he no longer can keep
Through no fault of his own, did he end up this way
His memory’s dying, it’s dying each day.

The helplessness, hurt and the pain deep inside
Reflects in his eyes through the tears he has cried
He’s breaking his heart but doesn’t know why
He only seeks solace, like you or like I.

Paul Colvin.

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2 replies »

  1. It is very hard to see someone we love, pretty much not being that person any more.
    This is well written Paul.
    I’ve been there, too many times, and this poem brought the hurt back – which means that it does what it’s meant to do. It took me there.
    I won’t read it again though – I don’t want to go there again, if I can help it.

  2. Hello again Paul – I remembered something.
    Years ago, when I lived in Suffolk, I knew a woman called Pat, who’s Mum had Dementia and when her Mum passed, I wrote this for Pat…..

    Pat’s Mum

    She’d lost her Self
    Her Self respect
    Self awareness
    Self esteem
    Sense of Self


    She’s found her Self again.

    I believe that that’s what happens, when they pass – those who have had those kind of conditions – they find themselves again. I believe this because I’ve come across a few situations where this has been shown to be so. Here’s a tale…….

    Again, when we lived in Suffolk, my friend, let’s call her Susan, told me that her husband, let’s call him John, was having some disturbing experiences. ‘John’ kept seeing his Mum – who had passed quite recently. He’d be walking along the road, and he’d see her there, in front of him, or he’d walk round a corner and see her, and in the house, too. When he saw her, though, she didn’t look like she did when she passed, she looked as she’d done when was in her 40’s, when ‘John’ was a young man – when the family were happiest. Also, ‘Susan’ and ‘John’s’ daughter, let’s call her Jane kept smelling her Gran’s cigarette smoke in her bedroom. ‘John’s’ Mum had had Alzheimer’s before she died, and it had made a big difference to her behaviour ( this happens sometimes). ‘Susan’ said she’d been a lovely woman all her life – really pleasant and good-natured. She became a very sharp-tongued, plain nasty old lady! This was her condition, causing her to behave this way, it wasn’t really her.
    Anyway, ‘Susan’ told me about ‘John’ seeing his mum. ‘John’ didn’t believe in any kind of after-life, mystical stuff, so it was very confusing and difficult for him to deal with. He didn’t know what to make of it, or what was happening.
    What came to me was…………….’John’s’ Mum wanted him to remember the good times, when the family were happiest. She didn’t want him to remember her in the state her condition had put her in. So, she was letting him see her, as she’d been then, as a reminder. ‘Susan’ asked me to write this all down for ‘John’, which I did, and she gave it to him to read. He accepted it, though, up to then, he had no acceptance of such things. He took it on board, and……..his Mum stopped appearing to him.
    The cigarette smoke continued for some time, also ‘Jane’s’ light would turn on and off at random times. This was just Gran, keeping an eye on ‘Jane’, and ‘Jane’ was happy with that. ‘Jane’ is now married, has a house of her own, and everything – and everyone! – has settled down.
    The point I’m making is…………….’John’s’ Mum had found herself again, she was back to herself, and wanted to let him know that and also to get him to have the best memory or her, rather than the later, painful memories of someone that wasn’t really her.
    I don’t know what you make of that, but, to me, that’s one example that shows that folk with those kind of conditions, find themselves again when they pass. It’s all part of the preparation for moving on to whatever is next for them. We need to clear our heads a bit, to start again.
    That’s just how I see it.

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