The Old People: A Poem
Being Around People of Advanced Years
This poem came about when I started to find myself in the company of older people who are dependent on others for their well-being. My mother, who was in her 90s started to deteriorate physically and mentally from the beginning of the year, then passed away in June 2016.
I started this poem a while ago and it relates to the elderly who have reached a point where they can no longer get about like they used to, and what it must be like for them—in the past I might not have considered their condition that much. Having had to help with my mother's gradual deterioration has given me an appreciation of the difficulties that many elderly people face on a daily basis and how dependent they become on those who look after them.
There have been others too that I've known, who are frail and needed carers to help them as they spend their last years of life in an unfortunate state of deterioration. Some are still quite together and in fairly good shape, many aren't though.
The last part of the poem concludes with the finality of death; I haven't included anything about the hereafter because I wanted this to be about elderly people's life here on earth. We have different beliefs about what follows after physical death but I felt this didn't belong in this poem.
The Old People
They’re there, but it’s as if they’re not
hunched over with bent backs,
gnarled hands pressing hard on walking sticks
clutching clackety walkers
in wheelchairs being pushed along
they grace our world almost in quiet submission -
some still talk out, that’s true
and so they should
The old people
they’re part of the scenery
“nothing so unordinary” one might say
shuffling tedious slow to shops
do we ever consider
do we notice them that much?
The struggles that advanced years bring
ageing minds searching longingly for something
long past that can never be regained
memories of a time when life and limb were
free and strong
Age crept up and bones grew brittle
legs, bodies now old and worn
they need a caring hand to move them from here to there
someone to lift them - they can’t stand up
Sadly there’s many with minds
that are in steady decline
unable to remember
what’s just been said
the thread of conversation
lost in mid-sentence
“who was that visitor?”
There comes a time when their minds
are almost depleted -
faces no longer have relevance
a veil has crept over their former selves
some still cheerful but they’re just not
others looking out from crushed eyes
they depend on family, friends, carers
to bear their burden
to see to their needs
Deterioration comes quick or slow
some perhaps even oblivious
to their own suffering
they linger on in an alzheimic state
until the end
leading to a final resting
when at last they are free
peace has come
life so good and long
the last few years took their toll
the final bell has rung
all suffering now gone.
My Mom in her last few months
When I see frail people now I have respect for them and have even put my name down at an old age home; I'm nowhere near ready for that but the waiting list at these places is normally long and it can take years to get a place. I'd never have considered that before until seeing for myself the hardships that some very old people experience.
Do you or have you cared for someone frail?
© 2016 David Edward Lynch