My Father's Last Years Poem by peter rodenby

My Father's Last Years

In between the hollow of forgetfulness
And the brief spark of lucidity
My father slips from life
No memory for the moment
No recollections
Only facts repeated by rote
His name, his place of residence
A place he grew up in
"Cross Keys Lane"
over eighty years ago.
He shuffles from chair to table
Incontinent, infirm, frail, silent placid.
Not moved by anger.
Occasionally frustrated by a button
That will not fasten, or a coat sleeve
That will not accommodate
An arthritic arm.
He lives a half existence
In a Home
A total reliance on his carers.
I visit him, knowing he does not know me.
Its hard to see him now
A skeleton wrapped in skin
No strength to stand
No mind to think
Nothing but a cry
A random outburst
From a delirious mind.
"Help Me"
My father did not see the spring this year.
He died.
There was still snow on the hills,
a bitter wind froze my face
as I walked from the car park
to the hospital entrance.
The Ward,
crowded with old people
Waiting to die.
Delusional, frightened, hysterical
And in pain.
This is where my father died.
The bed was screened with curtains
His corpse, with half closed eyes
Lay still, warm, but lifeless.
A vase of flowers and an open Bible.
Beyond the curtain screen
the tortured cries of the living.
I said a prayer and touched his head and left.
"When he went it was a blessing"

peter rodenby

peter rodenby

newcastle upon tyne
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