Saturday, July 13, 2013

Think Of This As Reading Aloud.

I'm co-facilitating a bereavement group for six weeks, and at each meeting my partner and I find readings that will evoke, comfort, or inspire our participants.  During one of my searches for appropriate material, I found this poem and liked it a great deal, partly because it spoke to me about what we as caregivers and people living next to dementia experience.
From one day to the next your care-taker can become a different person, and perhaps lose more and more of what they were.  We are all, or will be soon, mourning the person they used to be, and remembering the last times we saw them as they were.  This poem urges me to think, and in some way, care about, all of the people around me.

The author is Ellen Bass.

What if you knew you'd be the last
 to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line's crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn't signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won't say Thank you, I don't remember
 they're going to die.

 A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
 Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume
have to come?  How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
 if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

From: Ten Poems to Say Goodbye, Roger Housden, Harmoney Books, 2012


  1. I'm not often into poetry myself but this was really fantastic. I love the medieval feel! Thanks for sharing.

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