NaPoWriMo: The Thing Is…Poetry

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

of knowing.

Reassuring, cajoling,

and hoping.

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.

Private Concert

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!

4 thoughts

    1. Thank you! I think they both need some work to truly reflect how I feel (and, maybe I won’t be able to get there) but it was important to me to get something written down. I’m sorry your mom suffers from this awful disease too.


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