Dementia Triptych

Dementia I Evangelina

(Written after a pastoral visit to an elderly woman with dementia and awaiting placement in residential care)

I think my mind has slipped a notch
Soft purple beanie on Pandora’s box.

Fish and chips in Hindmarsh
Seven days a week, so hot,
Fillet and fry, drain and wrap,
Two and six the lot.

I think I lost a tooth last night.
Must have swallowed it in the nightly grind.

Memories in vague recall,
No Dad, no babe, no cot,
There was a boy who cruelly placed
Word stones in his keen slingshot.

Silver whiting on a golden beach
Tossed and dumped right into harm’s reach.

Not even priestly jewels
Can crown a life like mine
God’s left me like a pile of rags
Flip flop on an old clothesline.

Don’t be kind girl, you want me gone
These unravelling threads drag on and on.

Hey…I remember you
Kind eyes, soft touch you had,
A flutter of recognition
Sweet drop of Gilead.

I’ll hold on to this truth right here.
Might be the only one I’ll have all year.

Dementia II Given the Slip

They tell me
I’m drifting from my moorings.
Happened when
I wasn’t looking
and suddenly the distant shore
is not so distant.
Can’t turn this boat around.
Best pray for fair weather.

They tell me
I’m losing my grip
on things that should matter
Prime Ministers and dates and things – Pish!
Great submerged something
steamed into full pelt.
So, like Leonardo from Kate
best slip into icy waters.

Shall I falter
Tiptoe in the wintry dawn?
Or linger on
like summer’s last lick?
Can’t make sense
of an axis that’s tilted.
Best keep on turning
towards judgment day.

Dementia III End Times

These are the end times.
No placard, no place…

These are the end times.
A raging skyscape
red in the morning,
Was it yesterday or tomorrow?
Forwards or backwards, it makes no difference.

Lingering end times.
Seeping slowly like overfill under the door
and onto the carpet…

Lost in the end times.
There’s urine and poo and sloppy food
and you…
World without end.
No Amen.

All in a half day.

I tug for my faith –
blankets someone’s stolen in the night.
Gone cold.

My blind beggar’s theology
Calls for mercy
And it comes…

Just for me.

© Sharonne Price

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