Some of my Poetry Friday cohort members set challenges for one another at the beginning of each month. This month, April, the task of challenge setting fell to someone whose writing I’ve enjoyed for several years now. As I read her fellow participants’ posts, as well as hers, I was inspired by them to write a poem following Ellen Bass’s poem, The Thing Is, as a mentor text.
My mom has dementia. Her short-term memory is very poor. As she struggles to remember, I struggle to think of her as anyone other than who she was – a vibrant, intelligent, outspoken, and organized woman.
The Thing Is…
I want you to remember the events of
our lives in the order of when they occurred,
and the beats of the music you left unheard.
Not in your ear as you say the notes are now
but in the room or auditorium as your
grandson played on instruments of
your choice. He could do it all.
But, you never
heard because you
never came to call.
The Thing Is…
Those days are now gone.
You ask questions that were addressed
verbatim not fifteen minutes before.
Your vibrancy is dulled as you struggle
to recall, people and events, all those
things that make life and living so tall.
The Thing is…
This makes me sad and angry, too.
I want to shout and shake you awake.
Don’t you remember, I want to say aloud.
But, instead, I go along with your lack
I don’t want to upset you,
for I know you would be
distraught and frightened
if you knew
that you don’t know
© Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022 (NaPoWriMo # 4)
And, another one about hearing music. My mom was a musical person in her younger life. She played clarinet and piano, two of the same instruments two of our sons chose to play. On this visit, she claimed she was hearing music in her ear and asked if we could hear it too. Unfortunately, she neglected to ask her doctor about it on the day of our arrival. Neither of the poems I’ve written reveals the sadness and loss that occurs when a family member cannot remember. I’ll have to keep working on these. I want to honor my mom not come across as disgusted or frustrated. She cannot do anything about memory loss. I know that. It is just the reality of memory loss about which I am trying to write.
You say there’s a tenor in your ear,
The music is there for only you to hear.
Hymns are sung
With meaning just for one.
You ask if I can hear it,
But alas, no, not one bit.
You seem more amused than scared,
Having this private concert your ear.
© Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022 (NaPoWriMo #5)
I mistakenly posted this to SOL Tuesday this morning. Obviously, Tuesday was yesterday. I was occupied medically all day and have some amnesia from what happened. LOL. I apologize for the error!