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Alison Cassidy

(6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

! ! Alan's Alzheimers

He stared at us sternly
from his oval frame above the table -
a rugged, handsome man
in his early fifties
with neatly clipped moustache and cowboy hat.

Later, at the nursing home,
they wheeled him toward us -
breath whistling through ancient lungs,
toothless mouth gaping,
eyes fixed inanely on the ceiling.

I used not to like him.
Dogmatic and dictatorial,
bossy and bellicose -
a man too fond of boozing
and laughing at his own jokes.

But today, when milky eyes
lit up in recognition,
and skinny hands clung-
I felt a wave of such tenderness
as I could not have imagined.

I took him in my arms
and kissed his scrappy hair,
and felt strangely at peace in his company.
Dementia had lifted the mask
to reveal the soul smiling beneath.

Submitted: Friday, July 17, 2009
Edited: Friday, July 17, 2009

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Comments about this poem (! ! Alan's Alzheimers by Alison Cassidy )

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  • Sandra Martyres (10/25/2009 8:21:00 AM)

    A very touching piece Allie, and how sensitively you have dealt with Alzheimer's in this beautiful poem....You have a very kind heart...10+++++++ (Report) Reply

  • Jerry Hughes (10/8/2009 7:11:00 PM)

    I know exactly what you mean sweetheart, Alan Thomas Bainbridge, close friend and mentor is now a shadow of the man he was. Love, Jez (Report) Reply

  • Nimal Dunuhinga (7/30/2009 9:16:00 PM)

    The sad picture you bring us with its real dull color, your compassionate heart and the pen became one.Alison looks like a tender nurse. (Report) Reply

  • C. P. Sharma (7/26/2009 2:12:00 AM)

    Ali, The poem reveals your skillful handling of the rwo moods. How suddenly the situation brings about a change in the attitude of the onlooker from indignation to sympathy for the person. You shine in sympathy.
    CP (Report) Reply

  • Karin Anderson (sorry can't vote or comment) . (7/25/2009 8:38:00 AM)

    This sensitive and tender poem shows your compassionate heart Alison. Such a bittersweet piece full of descriptive observation. We all hope it won't happen to us, but who knows! If it happen to me, I hope I have visitors like you to show me concern and love. 10 Karin Anderson (Report) Reply

  • Emancipation Planz (7/25/2009 4:47:00 AM)

    Allie, Lest we forget... you bring movement to reasons and poetry to endurance... ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ within the aroha, Deana xx (Report) Reply

  • Yelena M. (7/24/2009 2:00:00 AM)

    A very strong and moving poem..Smile as a way to understanding pain..beautiful, Allie..Thanks for sharing.
    A. (Report) Reply

  • Shashendra Amalshan (7/22/2009 11:34:00 PM)

    oh! ! ! gosh this is so beautiful my dear Allie! ! ! ! very alive, entertaining and moving as always....
    your ones are very entertaining and extremely readable indeed.. and i fell in love with your characters and of course you... when i read them.... of course many writes thought provoking, great poems indeed.... i read them too.... but when written from heart poetry is so beautiful! ! ! ..
    and this is like 'Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen' isnt it?
    I liked this one...

    with lots of love
    shan (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Blakemore (7/21/2009 6:41:00 AM)

    A most beautiful and deeply touching poem Alison. A tender scene, expertly described as always. Love, Andrew (Report) Reply

  • Susan Jarvis (7/18/2009 5:25:00 AM)

    If ever this cruel condition had a positive side, Sally, you've eloquently revealed it. This poem is truly moving and puts me in mind of my late grandfather. S :) (Report) Reply

  • Sonya Florentino (7/17/2009 10:59:00 PM)

    very touching poem Alison, and also quite interesting because you bring up the question of who we really are..are we are conscious selves? what if we take away the memories, the ego...what makes Alan still Alan? (Report) Reply

  • David Harris (7/17/2009 5:02:00 PM)

    Allie, my sister-in-law has Alzheimer's and it is sad to see her now. your last two lines were particularly poignant.

    Dementia had lifted the mask
    to reveal the soul smiling beneath

    I have seen that in my own sister-in-law. Again you ave struck a cord with your tenderness. Top marks and thank for sharing it with us my friend.
    Hugs David (Report) Reply

  • Ann Beard (7/17/2009 3:13:00 PM)

    Or is it the innocence we are born with. I found your poem touching and your compassion sweetly composed. Kind regards Ann. (Report) Reply

  • Sally Carter (7/17/2009 7:23:00 AM)

    Alison, this is touching and illuminating. It certainly strikes a chord with me and I was moved by the way you manage to find some optimism beneath the tragedy of the disease. (Report) Reply

  • Martin Swords (7/17/2009 4:09:00 AM)

    Beautiful last stanza, thank you.
    Scrappy hair......I knew it well.
    Read more, hear more.
    Martin (Report) Reply

  • Stephen Stirk (7/17/2009 4:04:00 AM)

    I loved the journey Alison. Your words brilliantly describe such a wicked, cruel and debilitating illness. It is so hard for the family to live with, and sometimes the slightest recognition puts you on a high. oto live with. I loved the clever first verse structured as 'before and after'. The last verse is a facinating insight. A lovely poem.
    Steve (Report) Reply

  • Indira Babbellapati (7/17/2009 4:00:00 AM)

    that's heartening, isn't it? i remember to have written one on such a man. i think it's 'in the worlds unknown to him' (Report) Reply

Read all 19 comments »

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