- Sat At Tideline With
Sat at tideline with all my belongings. Longings in belongings. No you can't. Don't Wave waxing pulls my stuff, drags itl Slipping. It can't have it. I won't give in. I won't Ripple recedes as it pulls away from me. Then it rises, swoops like bloody murder. Sucks at my frames, pictures of family. Don't remember what I've lost. I suffer from losing nothing. People tell me what I've lost. I'm none the wiser. I need my bag. They steal my bag. Then help me find it. That's why I carry it with me. My keys they rag. They lift up stuff, say It's here. Discovered My photos, my ornaments, all gathered. 2. All Gathered My photos, my ornaments, all gathered into me beside a sea that steals, hoards. I painted three cat pictures. I'm mithered, I can't recall their names. Lose the cord. Hoppy had only three legs. Long haired love. In life you collect things for a reason, then forget the reason. Heaven's above. I need to write stuff down. Where's my pen gone? My pen is in my bag. Someone's stolen my bag. "Let me help you look." Says carer. In my pile of valuables, well hidden. What do I need my pen for? Waves closer. We are steadfast and keen in preserving against receding waves that keep pulling. 3. Against against receding waves that keep pulling. Everyday is new to me. Folk tell me something new everyday. I'm mulling over I belong here, here is not hell. I have a husband who makes the tea, there behind the counter. Folk confuse me when they say so sorry but they need to share, my husband is dead. They don't make sense. Show photos of me with a strange cute man. I nod sweetly. Hold hands. They're clearly mad. Steven, my husband, bring us tea, kind and sensitive. He goes along with their sad news. Waves pull all value I have hoarded all away from me, memories tethered. 4. All Away All away from me, memories tethered by fragility. Lacks strength of spider's web, or ship's anchor rope. Stranger blethered I have two sons. One no longer with us. Competitive. Aspired. One capricious. Dead. Blue and white rope he used. My son, Brave. Bravest he ever was. Wouldn't let us hug him. Let me put my hands on his brave shoulders. Then he pushed away. As if to say I'm strong enough to stand on my own. Isn't that brave? You know he had blue and white rope round his neck. He was known as brilliant yachtsman. Memories slipped by my frantic grasp to prevent their drift. 5. Frantic Grasp By my frantic grasp to prevent their drift I try to keep all safe. I have sons. O, how wonderful! These are them, are they? Sift through the photos. They’re cute. You have to go? Please hold my hand just a little longer. Thankyou. I won beauty contests. Youthful. I sold microwaves to throngs as youngster. Managed teams, won prizes. Being truthful. Do you like my hat? It’s a summer one. Please stay a bit longer. Don’t like it here. No, really. I don’t. Lonely when you’ve gone. Go then. See if I care. Don’t leave me dear. Someone visited me? Photos. My minds into forgottenness. They are reminders. 6. They Are into forgottenness. They are reminders. Photos remember what is forgotten. Who are these people? I wake from slumber to strangers smiling back at me. Fiction. They mean nothing to me. Why are they framed, and in my room? These clothes aren’t mine. Someone’s swapped them! Mine had sewn cotton labels, named. I’m sure they did. In here they are all cons. Come into my room in waves, steal what can. I know what they’re about. Won’t fool me blind. What do you mean what am I doing? Man, this is my room. It isn’t? Please help me find my room. At seas edge I can feel waves lift. How did I find myself here, a spindrift?
7. I Find Myself
How did I find myself here, a spindrift? Not enough tea in this. It’s just water. Sugar. Can you put more sugar in it? What’s your name? Thankyou. That tastes much better. I need the loo. Can you help me? Always somebody screams in here. You like my hat?. I need the loo. Where you going? Away? O, I know her she’s nice. Yes, love. Toilet. She’s screaming again. I’m going to lie down on my bed, love. Will you stay with me? My clothes no longer fit. They need to buy me more, that aren’t so tight. I like pretty. Carried coal in on his back. My father. Water’s edge or earth’s end? Which is kinder? 8. Edge or Earth's “Water’s edge or earth’s end? Which is kinder? What do words mean? Getting more like pictures. What are they showing me? What is this for? A pen. What do you do with it? Mixtures of tiny lines. That’s pretty.” Because she can’t write, but enjoys the sounds I’m making these verses up for her. I read so she can listen, recording what she’s saying. I have to report how she interacts with other people in here. Make sure she takes her medication else, she’ll fall back and her condition worsen more quickly. Sentences she says really get to me: “Only strangers now, who say they know me.” 9. Only Strangers Now “Only strangers now, who say they know me.” She says. I don’t want to add to her words, only take away some if she lets me. Her talk blooms with allusion, mystery. Her son says she has books by Rod Mckuen, “Listen to the Warm” , Russian Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “Selected Poems”. When I mention names, she has no memory. She sings “The sun has got his hat on. Hip, hip, hooray. The sun has got his hat on.” One hand on top of her summer hat lifts it in time so it flops to the rhythm. Other times gentleness is hers, and yours “Hold my hand, take me down long corridors.” 10. Hold My Hand, Take Me “Hold my hand, take me down long corridors.” All patients are locked in permanently. Each has their own en-suite room and their doors only open to their key cards. Toiletries are extra fees we access from accounts set up by their loved ones. Sometimes we ask for relatives to bring in more clothes. Counts If we can email, text or phone with facts. Loved ones updated with latest virus news, how can visit after negative test result. Before, windows clean glass to see them through. We think/act positive. She waits for them while we show we care. “They have photos. It looks like me, Nowhere” 11. Nowhere “They have photos. It looks like me, Nowhere” We try to make it somehow like a home from home. An opportunity to share their past lives. Their fresh animated tone the event is in the here and now for them. It is never them for us. We use first names all the time. Hold it in great store as a family. Our wordsmith we’ll choose to call Pam taps her shoulders when she talks of her dad who would carry packed sackfuls of coal on his back. Pam when she slow walks with you steadies herself against her falls. Always walk pace of slowest ones. She roars: “I can recall. How did I reach these shores?” 12. These Shores “I can recall. How did I reach these shores?” Pam was transferred from an emergency care place, after neighbour saw her outdoors pacing her front garden. Community welfare came out with police to remove her, as a danger to herself and others. Her late husband had already been moved into a respite place to recover. She had not been taking the drugs prescribed, so rapid decline inevitable. Back on regular medication, slide to a lower plateau less possible. We can slow the process, not stop decline. “Did I come to this place with things of mine?” 13. I Come to “Did I come to this place with things of mine?” Powered attorneys brought Pam’s belongings, her husband having died in the meantime. Soon, all will be unbelongings. Belonging only in the heads of those who knew her. She will leave her words, art: sketches she made of her three cats of whose names: Hoppy and Missy, she knew by heart. It is sad to talk of someone living as if they have already passed away. Some relatives are shocked to find filling body of one they knew is a strangers gaze. Professional, you can’t help get close: her rhyme: “Is that wave for mine? Is it now my time?” 14. Wave For “Is that wave for mine? Is it now my time?” Pam talks of ocean as taker away of value she’s gathered on the shoreline. Unaware others are with her each day. A strange time for all, when keen avoidance of others has been the key to our health. We have felt loss sharply, hugs and street dance, a dosey do, a time outside ourselves. Locked in Pam is a stranger to all this, perhaps she has noted the extra cleaning, masks so she can’t see our smiling faces. Her world smaller, stranger each new morning. I’ll leave the final words to her: she sings “Sat at tideline with all my belongings.” 15. The Unresolvables Sat at tideline with all my belongings. My photos, my ornaments, all gathered against receding waves that keep pulling all away from me, memories tethered by my frantic grasp to prevent their drift into forgottenness. They are reminders. How did I find myself here, a spindrift? Water’s edge or earth’s end? Which is kinder? Only strangers now, who say they know me. Hold my hand, take me down long corridors. They have photos. It looks like me, Nowhere I can recall. How did I reach these shores? Did I come to this place with things of mine? Is that wave for mine? Is it now my time? -Paul Brookes https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2021/05/20/dementiaactionweek-dementiaactionawarenessweek-2021 Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry) 3 Poems by Paul Brookes in FOTM Poetry Digest Issue 2 Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead