Sunday 21 July 2013

The Significance of Birds


Man and The Moon, 1990, Andrew Wyeth

Death comes in threes
she says solemnly as if somehow
mere utterance of these words
will cause the Sword of Damocles
to hang teetering, teeter over the head
of some soon-to-be-dead   unfortunate.

We do Last Offices;
lay him on the whitest purest sheet.
First stage (Clinical),
turn him and he groans
as last air expels from lungs
and watch horrified
as blood spills in rivers from his lips. 
Can you now understand my pain?
his dead body asks.

We lay him prostrate
as if in reverence to his God
and cleanse all that is corporeal,
gently pull his legs apart
and place padded pants. 
Oh the indignity of death
his dead body oozes.

Second stage (Aesthetics),
he now supine gazes
with unseeing eyes
as we again wash away his life,
trim brows and beard,
anoint him with essential oils,
dress him in his Sunday best. 
I am at rest now his dead body whispers,
I am ready and we usher in the family.

My best friend wants me to lay her out
I say as we both drained,                                                                      
clutch at warming coffee cup.

Y’know she says      
on my way into work today
there were magpies, four strutting confident.
Four for death.
Do you think…?

Just as I mean to tell her
she is stupid I see crow
and catch my breath as
he tap tap taps    upon the window.

Caw, caw, caw(pse) he advises
as he views me with his beady eyes
and one not prone to superstition,
nevertheless, a chill shivers down my spine.

Anna :o]

The above is the result of Tess's  prompt of the naked man and is also shared at the Poetry Pantry – hope you like it!

Saturday 6 July 2013


He lays me on his couch,
its okay he says and he
soothes me with his velvet voice
and then somehow
I’m swinging through the trees,
huu-hooing, huu-hooing...

I feel history in my bones,
equilibrium rent so so long ago
as new world punctuates
that of the old, the old the primitive.   
DNA revolutionised,
not now content 
with mere existence, evolutionised,
I am inquisitive. 

We have him now, colobus,
crashing screaming to the ground
and I, Alpha, take first pick,
tear him limb from limb,
sink teeth deep into his flesh... 

He brings me out of it.
my past that is,
but the memory does not fade,
is not forgotten. 

Well, I didn’t expect that he says
(with a grin I recognise as fear). 
Maybe your ancestors are the missing link
he wonders out aloud. 
No doc I reply, look out there;
look at the primitives who roam
the streets arms hanging limp,
as if some roaming hunting ape,
savage, strutting,
uttering guttural sounds 
to intimidate those who (attempt 
to) rise above dark ancestry, become civilised.  
We are all the missing link I say.

He is afraid, still, and I see
red pools on shirt and floor,
he grimaces as he holds bleeding wrist
and terrified, I taste blood upon my lips.  

I am primitive.  
I am madder than I think.

Anna :o]

The excellent Brian Miller is hosting tonight at dVerse and the theme is puzzles, crosswords, jigsaws, anything we find puzzling.  The 'missing link' sprang to mind…

Oh and as the prompt is puzzles, here is a puzzle for you:  If it took a psychiatrist 19 minutes to INTERVIEW me, 16 of those minutes to DIAGNOSE my problem, how long did it take him to have me *SECTIONED?

*  Sectioned (detaining or sectioning) = involuntary commitment.

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons   
Author: Christopher Walsh, Harvard Medical School.

Monday 1 July 2013


Image by Musin Yohan
Tomorrow holds bleak promise,
offering naught
but that of darker days ahead. 
Storm gathers up its tricks,
marks time.

You are the burden that I carry,
tote on heavy laden shoulder,
shoulder well leant upon. 
I am weary of it all. 
Of late I’ve wished you dead.

I shall dream of Medusa, gaze on her. 
What better than a heart as cold as stone
no longer beating to your rhythm. 
I could be no more petrified than I am.

Anna :o]

My handsome one was diagnosed with young-onset vascular dementia while in his early forties, some thirteen years ago.  He is in a sense lucky as his dementia presents as apathy and he sleeps perhaps eighteen-nineteen hours out of twenty-four.  He could not exist alone and requires prompting for most of his daily living needs.    Without prompts he would never wash, shave (he has a beard and it would be down to his knees) or change his clothing.  He would eat!

He is never unhappy and it is probable he is more content (he was a worrier) than he was prior to dementia.

His happy apathy has been a blessing in another way, in that I know he is safe when I go to work – I do not have to worry about him ‘wandering’ when I am away from home.  I need to work to pay the bills, the biggest being the mortgage.

A recent event has changed everything, an event that could have led to his death and indeed mine if I had been at home.   After much angst I have sorted the problem out, removed its potential of harm.

But I know and have known since last November that his decline is accelerating and there will come a time when he will not be safe at all if left alone.  But the need for me to work will still exist.  In today’s depressed market it is unrealistic to consider down-sizing, and if indeed this were possible, the upheaval and the ‘strangeness’ of a new home would accelerate his decline even further.

So the need to ‘put him in a home’ – a place of safety -sometime in the future, possibly the near future is the only option available.

This is something I have been aware of since not long after his diagnosis.  It is something I do not want.  How could I hurt him like that?   How could I forgive myself?

The stigma of dementia hangs heavy on all those involved.  You find out who your real friends are – it appears my husband had none…  even close family members, (handsome one’s)siblings back off and you become more isolated…

Dementia is a terminal illness, of that there is no doubt and it devastates all it touches.  I do not want my handsome one to go into a home – I would rather he die first; die before he becomes a stranger to me and I to him.

I went to sleep yesterday hoping he would be dead when I woke up.  If you are not in the same position as me, you will not understand this.  I do not want his mind to die before his body does.   It is not a selfish thing; I want him to die now while his personality still exists, I want him to die because I love him.