A Lady With Cake. Poem by Ann Beard

A Lady With Cake.

Rating: 4.9

I have been here before so I know the way
It is down the corridor third on the right.
The door is wide open, I pause to observe
the harshness of time her face out of sight.

Who are you? the elderly woman demands
the words are aggressively spoken, terse.
Once more I’m a child being reprimanded,
needing to urinate, withered by thirst.

I sense her contempt of my scrambled style,
my comfy laced shoes, my out of date coat.
The frayed silk scarf that controls greying hair
to knot just above the pulse in my throat.

Lost your tongue silly girl, she sternly says
I blush and wonder who else will hear
The ill natured sharpness is certain to seem
like a shriek of tired brakes to anyone near.

Tears threaten to veil the bud of each eye.
Apprehension and dread form to grip my chest.
The old childhood stammer returns as I try
to reply, I have come at the nurses request.

The change is so sudden deflating her tone
I am feeling, you know..... very tired today”
Her fingers search restlessly sides of her chair,
she adds sweetly “ someone with cake can stay”.

For a while there is silence, awareness our friend
a moment to once more recall a sharp tongue
the clash of two souls of different design, of
colourless dreams, of escaping while young.

Old age has been cruel to those exquisite eyes
now flecks of fine ash in a weathered complexion.
She fingers lank hair and gazes elsewhere
as if mourning the absence of pride and affection.

I pull up a chair, take my place by her side
Who are you, she asks me, again and again.
Why mother I say don’t you recognise me,
I’m the lady with cake aren’t you glad that I came.

copyright ©Roan Dec 2008

Ron Flowers 17 December 2008

Sad but beautiful. Best wishes Ron

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Thad Wilk 18 December 2008

A sad poem an story Ann, beautifully written, alzheimer's affects not just the victims of this dreaded disease but all family members an friends as well. Thank you for sharing, *10*! ! Friend Thad.

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Chitra - 20 December 2008

age and its companions, sad and poignant

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Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr 21 December 2008

Ann, i must say, that this is one of the finer pieces of literature i have read on this site, in 2008. Your poetic presentation, depicting the absolute anathemic cruelty of old-age dis-order, is flat spot-on.I lost my Father to Alzheimers on Sept.1st...and the scenario you present in the above work, is chilling, but facinating. The pictorial parlance you employ enables the reader to engage & digest the full impact of your efforts.The gliding, serpentine-like stanzaec flow allows for a smooth, fluxive read. Brilliant Work, young lady...This one goes on my very, very short 'PH Favorite Poems List'. FjR

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Reshma Ramesh 24 December 2008

ann..........what a narration................full marks for that and heart touching story.......well penned mam.............well penned!

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Laurie Hill 09 May 2009

Such a wonderful write, so very sad and poignant. Your words capture everything so well and captures the mind of the reader...excellent...10

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Vaibhav Pandey 08 March 2009

a poignant write but so beautifully poetized...this one deserves a 10

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David Lewis Paget 15 January 2009

Ann, this really hits home! I've been there too, my mother was in a Nursing Home for seven years before she died in 2000. I watched the slow decline of a woman who had been bright, articulate, a writer and editor of a trade magazine, to the point where her memory regressed to the point where her three children disappeared to her, one by one, her husband of 56 years was forgotten, she stopped answering to her married name, and had only memories of her father who she feared and loathed. To have your mother stare at you blankly as if to say 'who are you', is the most heartwrenching experience in life. She didn't know me for the last eighteen months of her life, and looked at me with suspicion when I visited. Death came as a relief in the end, not only to her, but to her family, who loved her. You have tackled a difficult subject here with sensitivity and understatement. David

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Meggie Gultiano 14 January 2009

this is really a heart wrenching write, it deeply touched my heart.Whether we like it or not, we will be going there..It is a sad reality, but we have to accept it.This is beautifully crafted and i love this very much.Lovely.. love and hugs, Meggie

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Andrew Blakemore 27 December 2008

A wonderful work Ann, so powerful and descriptive. You have a marvellous talent. Best wishes, Andrew

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