Lynn W. Petty

Gold Star - 5,118 Points (3/29/28 / Newport Beach, California)

A Question Of My Own Mortality - Poem by Lynn W. Petty

Time seemed interminable.
A curious and inexplicable apprehension came over me,
As I sat in an elderly care home waiting to visit a friend.
The atmosphere was heavy with quiet confusion.
People wandered about searching and shifting in a
Sort of stolid acquiescence. Their lives recalled as flashes in memory, projecting film images on their thick, gray screen of dementia.
Across from me sat an elderly gentleman whose gaze was a glassy
Expression of inattention. I could see the declinations of his skull
Beneath his facial features. A victim of the grievous calamities
Of time, vaguely aware of his own frailty.

A harassing anxiety overcame me. Is it death or is it the lingering
Before my death I find discomposing?
No, it is not the naked fact of death I fear, it is the prison
Of my own being; that time from competence to incontinence;
Between enclosure to final closure.

Why was I so disrupted? Perhaps, it was a solemn foreshadowing,
Dimly seen on the distant reaches of my destiny,
In that, I had witnessed my own fragile mortality.

Topic(s) of this poem: mortality

Form: Free Verse


Poet's Notes about The Poem

The poem says it all.

Comments about A Question Of My Own Mortality by Lynn W. Petty

  • Robert Murray Smith (10/11/2017 8:20:00 PM)


    An insightful write.10

    Robert Murray Smith
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Simone Inez Harriman (5/3/2017 4:27:00 AM)


    WOW...stunning, scary imagery, and a terrifying sad reality for some of us approaching later years. Superbly penned 10+ (Report) Reply

  • Bri Edwards (2/28/2016 10:09:00 PM)


    give me lucidity or give me death! (Report) Reply

  • Bri Edwards (2/28/2016 10:08:00 PM)


    it is the prison
    Of my own being; that time from competence to incontinence;
    Between enclosure to final closure. .............................. love this. :) [you know what i mean, i hope] bri

    the poem may say enough [i haven't finished yet, but i just read the Poet's Note], but it doesn't say it ALL!

    love the alliterations here:

    Dimly seen on the distant reaches of my destiny,
    In that, I had witnessed my own fragile mortality.

    to MyPoemList immediately! well, almost immediately.

    bri :)
    (Report) Reply

  • Ernestine Northover (2/11/2016 10:10:00 AM)


    I have a very elderly friend who is 99 this year and she is in the same situation in a Care Home and sometimes she knows us and sometimes she doesn't. Very sad that the mind goes before the body and sadly there is nothing one can do to help them remember. You have captured the wandering minds trying to make out where they are and how they came to be there. Very confusing situation. Very well captured, I feel the same every time I visit her.
    Love Ernestine
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/26/2016 10:32:00 PM)


    Volunteering at a Catholic nursing home when I was 12 I saw all the things you are describing in this poem, I had many of these thoughts at that young age. I kept helping out through the years and was hired when I was 16 as a nurse's aide. Somehow I found comfort in the way people handled growing old, I saw it was inevitable and learned to accept it through the years, knowing one day I would be in the same position as those I was taking care of. Thank you for this poem, it brought back so many gentle and heartfelt memories. This poem is really great! Thank you for sharing it. RoseAnn (Report) Reply

  • Terry Craddock (1/24/2016 2:44:00 PM)


    'The atmosphere was heavy with quiet confusion.
    People wandered about searching and shifting in a
    Sort of stolid acquiescence.'

    I love the juxtaposition of these lines with the next line

    'Their lives recalled as flashes in memory, projecting film images on their thick, gray screen of dementia.'

    so powerful and graphically true, I used a similar film image in a different context once, and the

    'Dimly seen on the distant reaches of my destiny,
    In that, I had witnessed my own fragile mortality.'

    which is the reason I race to get a few thoughts down before passing crossing into a new state of awareness waiting
    (Report) Reply

  • Terry Craddock (1/22/2016 10:46:00 PM)


    'Why was I so disrupted? Perhaps, it was a solemn foreshadowing,
    Dimly seen on the distant reaches of my destiny, '

    it often proves desirable not knowing what the future holds
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/22/2016 10:37:00 PM)


    Thought provoking and meaningful write throwing light on natural human tendencies appearing in the evening of life. Thanks for sharing.10 points. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 22, 2016



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