Sunday, December 21, 2008


Ten years ago
A stranger came
And took my father’s soul
That very same day,
I met my new mentor,
The bean caoinadh of old.

Today I can't get,
This thought out of my head.
The old lady is with me rocking and weeping,
Together again we are mourning as such,
Although he is not dead.

Despite her shadowy presence,
there is a certain comfort to her song,
But my heart is tired,
And I canne bear to think
how long this may yet go on.

I am supposed to be young,
And happy and carefree,
But my father's living death
Has taken this from me.

My friends wonder what gives me this dark side
Why there seems always to be a cloud,
My father's illness doesn't seem to be enough,
For such feelings to be allowed.

But I can't help it,
No matter how much I try,
The old lady continues to sit in my heart,
Why is this grief so strong and undeniable,
That from my friends it sets me apart?

Others' loved ones die,
And they seem to carry on so well,
Why do I get to wallow in
What seems sometimes to be
Just a self-created hell?

I try to look for a way out,
But all I come across is walls of grief,
I look for a way to be whole again,
But it seems that death,
will be the only relief.

I'm tired of being a whining child,
I'm tired of not being able to move on,
But until the day Dad leaves this world.
I know I will hear her song.

Written June 2008

Dementia War

It begins like a little tapping at your foundations,
Something that is a little unsettling,
makes you feel uncomfortable,
and a little ill at ease…

And then the tapping gets louder,
becomes more violent,
starts to shake the world around you.
Then you begin to rattle and tremble;
and are shaken to your very core,
as the thunder rolls in.

From this point on,
it’s just one bomb blast after the next.
shrapnel is flying everywhere;
And you don't know if you are going to survive,

You are out on the edge,
teetering,and you don't know,
if you are going to be able to hold on much longer...
but you do…
You just keep hanging in there while the blows continue to fall,
And hell rains down upon you.

You can no longer see for all the muck and grime in the air,
It even makes breathing a chore…
But time ticks on, and you start to notice;
That you,…are still there,

Everything is in ruins around you,
but you remain,
There's debris everywhere
and everything is covered in dust and is grey,
But although the bombs keep falling,
You no longer hear them so loudly,
Everything is muffled,
you seem to have gone numb?

You can still feel the shaking at your foundations,
But they seem far away and distant now;
You peer out from the dust and
you can see a sliver of sunlight,
It’s the faintest hint of light,
but you focus on it,

It doesn't get any bigger,
but neither does it go away,
And in your nightmarish daze you just keep looking at it,
Knowing that that is what you must do,
to get through this.

One day the sun will shine again,
The dust will settle and you will see the ruins around you,
Mangled and broken,
he’ll be gone.

The bombs will have stopped falling;
and you'll dare to take a step again,
breathe again.
The world will be silent,
but you will have cried all your tears for it long ago.

On that day you will look up,
and see how the world can begin again,
And on that spot where that sliver of sunlight,
Shone all that time,
the light that got you through…

There will be a beautiful forget me not,
a splash of colour in this grey world growing there;
and it will give you the hope to begin again.....

Written October 2005

Little Brown Mouse

Jenny you were in my heart..

Jenny, little jenny
so lost and all alone,
Came to me one afternoon
and told me she wanted to go home.

I sat with Jenny for a while
and told her that here should would be safe,
She told me that noone came to visit her,
that she was scared and had lost her faith.

She held my hand and stroked it
as if it gave her some comfort and some calm
Just talking to me appeared to have the effect
of removing her feeling of alarm

Jenny in her light cotton nightie
and feet always bare.
Had short brown hair the colour of caramel,
and shuffled from here to there.

With her head bowed low and pixie looks
she reminded me of a timid mouse,
I wondered who her family was,
had they forgotten her but meanwhile kept her house?

She never spoke much to me,
except for that one afternoon,
She said she was scared of what would happen to her
if I should depart too soon.

She didn’t know who these people were
and she saw some were locked in chairs,
Some would scream and yell
whilst others sat dribbling and moaning,
many with vacant stares.

She said she’d seen me come and go,
nearly everyday,
She asked me if I would keep watch over her,
to keep the evils at bay.

She said my she envied my father
to have a visitor so often .
She asked if I could spare some time for her,
my heart could not but soften,

I said I would as best I could
but I was afraid that my Dad would take my attention,
She said that was okay just one look from me
would suffice to ease her apprehension.

And so we had a funny little relationship
where we’d exchange looks each time,
In return I’d get her grin to show me
that she knew I cared & that she was fine.

But then there were days
that she looked no more
and I instead was waylaid,
Dad became my focus again
and my chat with Jenny did fade.

This past week Dad has been ill
and my heart was full of dread,
He looked lost and in despair,
and until today could not escape his bed.

I didn’t look for Jenny
while Dad had been so sick
But then I read on the notices today
that I had missed a nasty trick.

I read it once and paused in shock,
Jenny B......... 12 October, 2005.
It couldn’t be my Jenny,
surely Jenny my Jenny was still alive?

But then I realized I’d let her down,
I hadn’t done what I said,
When I hadn’t seen her,
I assumed she was just absent,
I didn’t think she’d be dead.

So Jenny I am writing this,
a poem not very good,
I wanted to do in death for you,
what in life I should,

I wanted the world to know
that Jenny was a beautiful lady
who deserved so much more,
Who gracefully and quietly fought alone with dignity,
this evil dementia war.

Rest in Peace Jenny, do not fear
I will always remember you.
If your family did visit when I wasn’t there,
they will miss you too.

Written October 2005

Nursing Home Angst

An ode to Alma Thudd

Oh Alma, Alma why is it always you?
When Dad goes thud,
And I ask the question,
Who was on duty, who, who, who?

Alma was on,
She saw the whole thing,
When your father hit the floor,
With a crash and a ding.

I don’t want to point the finger,
Maybe its just bad luck,
Or maybe it’s because,
you don’t give a…truck??

I never learnt your surname,
But I’ve made one up instead,
It was the only way I could remember,
Who was on all those times, dad hit his head.

Why don’t I complain?
I hear you ask,
Because I have no real evidence to,
Bring her to task.

Dad can’t say anything,
And he does fall down,
All he does is mumble,
And when she’s near, frown.

Then there’s the other side,
I need people to care,
So complain about the staff,
I am afraid to even dare.

What say they don’t like it?
And see me as trouble,
My sins could pass to my father,
And he’ll be left in the rubble.

But Alma I’m watching you,
I’ll be a detective,
I’ll the gather the evidence,
So I can prove you’re defective,

You give a bad name,
To others in your job,
The professionals, the carers,
The rest of the mob,

So careful old woman,
When your next patient chokes,
It could the end of your career,
From Alma, the dear,
beeduh, beeduh, beeduh, that’s all folks!

Written September 2005

Sister’s Poem

My sister took the famous poem "A Crabbit Old Woman" (by anon) some years ago and made some changes to it, so it reads about my Dad. It makes me cry whenever I read it because it has some of his personal history in it, just to tell people and so that people can understand who he 'was' and really still is, although they may not see it.

It’s a long one, but here it is, I've left out the beginning parts that are pretty much the same as the original...

Shell of a Man

I'm a small child of ten,
With a father and mother,
Nine brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young man of sixteen,
With wings on my feet,
Dreaming of a career and,
The wife I will meet.

A groom at twenty one,
My heart gives a leap,
Gazing at my new wife,
Making promises to keep.

At twenty-nine now I have children,
Three of my own,
Who need me to provide,
A secure happy home.

A still young man of forty,
My children growing fast,
Bound to us and each other,
With ties that will last.

At fifty my children,
Have grown and are gone,
But my wife is beside me,
Work keeps me too busy to mourn.

At fifty-five once more,
Babies play on my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

For my young are all raising,
Young of their own,
I dream of life to come,
And the years that we've known.


Small changes, mistakes,
Thoughts no longer clear
Illogical logic,
Herald an unspoken fear.

Dark days are upon me,
Our future dreams dead,
I think of the life we had planned,
I shudder with dread.

Too young, I grow old,
And nature is cruel,
'Tis brutal to make such intelligence,
Look like a fool.

My mind twists and crumbles,
Vigour and grace depart,
Noone can hear my thoughts,
Know that I still have a heart.

But inside this old carcass,
The young boy still dwells,
And every now and then,
My battered heart swells.

Though I cannot speak it,
I remember the joys and pain,
In my mind I am living,
Life over again.

Please think of those years,
All too few, gone to fast,
And accept the stark fact,
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes people,
Open and see,
Not a shell of a man,
Look closer...see ME!!


Written September 2005