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A Bystander to Dementia

by Mr B. 

Posted: 20 February 2005
Word Count: 194

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He shuffles down the corridor,
Not just with age,
But from a motorcycle crash.
Ancient pain, a badge of distant youth.
"Are you there, Grandad?"
Or are you just an aged husk?
I feel the guilt of a primeval need to run,
To leave the sick and dying.

I remember conversations that we had,
Life's jigsaw pieces we sculpted together.
A rainbow of summer outings
And half terms yearned for,
Gone too quickly.

"Hello, Grandad"
Watery eyes raise up to meet my own.
How many pleasant times those eyes looked down
Upon my play, or offer me
A bitter tomato grown with pride.
Wrinkled forehead creases further,
Confusion? Recognition?
Are you there, grandad?

I remember our last conversation,
Not for what was spoken,
But the way the same was said
Three times.
And then it seemed a fog had cleared,
We talked of old and how forgetfulness
Was amusing,
And sad.

Now, nothing.
A reassuring smile from a nurse,
But that can't bridge the gulf.
Are you there, grandad?
Or are you now a traveller,
A wanderer through sweet memories
Of youth and dreams,
And never growing old.

Travel well, sweet wanderer.
Travel well.

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Comments by other Members

joanie at 19:08 on 20 February 2005  Report this post
Mr B., this is beautiful and very poignant. Simply expressed but with depth of meaning and emotion.

I'm sure there are many with similar experiences who will connect with this, but one doesn't need to have been there to 'enjoy' this piece.

I love the ending.


roovacrag at 20:01 on 20 February 2005  Report this post
Mr B an exquisite poem,well written and very well thought out.
Dementia doesn't only hit the old but the young as well.

Well done.

xx Alice

jewelsx at 21:42 on 26 February 2005  Report this post

i thought this was beautifully written and conveyed so much emotion, i feel like this piece really struck a cord with me.

well done on a great poem


Keight at 19:51 on 29 May 2006  Report this post
There is no worse a death than the living death you describe here, the death of the memory is a woeful thing indeed. Sound piece of work.

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