In the Garden

Laurie asked us to write a poem based on Dementia.  My aunt is involved in this fractured, fragmented view. Some moments are good, but most are lost, tucked away. We are the ones, who try to open their memories. I do think her clarity was compromised, when my Uncle recently died. She went downhill. She didn't want to cope with it, I think her brain protected her.  This is just my opinion.  I know no one really knows...  I thought of the book Secret Garden and the stashed items in the attic. I just cleaned my attic a month ago and was flooded with memories.   It is sad to think of those losing their treasured view~

The quiet room at the top of the house
where dark shadows linger
Boxes oftarnished silver and
 sepia photos
where sunbleached brilliance lacks luster
 dust now evades and fills in the cracks
while cobwebs build
 searching onward for the key

Like a gift not open
 it whispers of
lost, cherished words, sunshine and 
diminished hope
all are tangled
bare branches tap 
at the window sill
 warmth now replaced with
 an autumn chill 

Dust sifts
like a kaleidoscope broken
detached particles fall and shift 
dark shadows replace the light
they dangle like
 broken mirrored glass

Boxes of letters, 
piles of papers remain scattered
 dusty faded thoughts with bent edges
trampled and stomped on
like damp leaves

Window's view reveals 
early morning grayness
it is raining on
 the Bleeding Hearts while 
like a love song we all hope 
and pray
for the new perennials to bloom
then fertile mind will
show us the green door
if not
perhaps we can make
 a new key!

© Ellen Wilson


Mary said…
Alzheimers/Dementia is such a tragedy for the person and those who know her. You captured the sad essence of Alzheimers, I think, by the intricate wordings you chose...such as:

dark shadows replace the light
they dangle like
broken mirrored glass

It is definitely something I fear for myself and those that I love.
Unknown said…
Beautiful words, Ella.
Kay L. Davies said…
Beautiful, indeed, Ella.
"it whispers of
lost, cherished words, sunshine and
diminished hope
all are tangled"
— tangled is the key word, I think, for the brain becomes tangled, cherished words are lost, and there is no sunshine.
I've watched my father go through this. Mother got sick and died of other causes before the dementia could increase its hold on her as it did on him. I did not, could not, wish my father to die, but I could and did wish him to escape such a fate.
Ella said…
Kay-I understand~ I worry about this condition! The diabetic link makes me scared~ I'm so sorry about your Dad xo

EJ-I haven't forgotten YOU! I have to do one more poem, then you and Alex are being featured ;D
Thank you~

Mary-It is scary! The death of memories, the dance of light being lost... Thank you!
A gift not open - a perfect description.
Ella, wonderful piece on dimentia.
Recently, on Poets United by Sherry Merk, I was asked to tell my 'Mamasitas' story of her and her children's journey to America. She passed away in a diminished fashion from Alsheimer's. It was a sadden heart rendering of reflection knowing that her last days in this world were in a place unbeknownst to us. the most heart wrenching aspect was first not knowing if she was anguished and in pain but also selfishly how not being recognized as her children in these last couple of years was heart breaking for me and my siblings.

Your piece gently tapped into the easy romantic parts of it's cobwebbed spaces.

my sibling's journey
Daydreamertoo said…
This is such an awful thing to have happen especially to family or close friends we love. It's heart breaking to see them loosing their short term memory and not being able to help. That's my main thing, the helplessness to be able to help.
A deeply moving subject, and written so lovingly by you Ella.
Carol Kilgore said…
Your words paint a perfect picture of the tragedy of dementia.
Susie Clevenger said…
Dementia is horrible...your words expressed it with such grace. There are times I wonder if it is in my future, but I don't dwell on it. I write as fast as I can to leave pieces of me with my loved ones if I should ever forget them...
Mary Ann Potter said…
Ellen, this is exceptional. Your imagery was so well chosen and so very effective. A tough subject handled beautifully!
Jemi Fraser said…
Beautiful imagery - loved 'a gift not open'. Nicely done :)
M Pax said…
Alzheimers and Dementia are terrible ailments. My grandmother had some dementia near the end. Most noticeable after my grandfather died. He broke her heart when he left us. It was the saddest thing. Maybe there's something to what you said.

The poem is really touching. Made me teary :) In a good way.
Vicki said…
Only you could write so beautifully about such a horrible disease. My friend has devoted her life to managing a facility for Dementia and Alzheimer's patients. She reminds me that the patients are happy. The ones I should pray for are the family and friends.
kaykuala said…
Dementia is a shock to those unaccustomed. The sad part is that we're in no position to help. We can only make things easier for them. Great write Ella!

Wanda said…
Really like this one Ella. It captures the darkness well that individuals and their families dealing with dementia often feel.
scarlett clay said…
My grandfather is showing the early signs of this tragic condition, this is a heart-breaking thing...your poem is really beautiful.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
You have written this so beautifully, and the photos add extra poignancy - taken when they were young and vibrant, then imagining the slow decline. Beautifully done. Thank heaven we have photos to keep the memories alive.

I am touched by Nene's comment, above. His Mamasita's story really touched my heart.
Kristin said…
Tearing up!! Oooh, this is my new favorite! Really really touching . . .
Thank you too for your sweet comment - and YES please play along with SOC whenever you can! xoxo
Other Mary said…
The attic is a very apt metaphor for the failing mind. I don't know about your hopeful ending though. Not for our loved ones, but I hope researchers get that key figured out soon!
Hart Johnson said…
Oh, Ellie-I think you've done a beautiful job capturing the sadness of it. it's a lovely poem. Great imagery that really is very well matched to the loss.
Toia said…
Beautiful poem. The words of imagery are so true and very real
Toia said…
Beautiful poem. The words of imagery are so true and very real
Carrie Van Horn said…
You have captured a tragic thing in such a beautiful and real way Ella....wonderful writing! :-)
Anonymous said…
Thank you for that Ella. I lost my mum to dementia long before she died. I nominated your blog for the Inspiring Blog Award! Check it out on my blog:
Ella said…
Jemina-Thank you so much! I am so sad n' sorry to hear about your Mum~

Carrie-Thank you, this means a lot~

Toia-Thank you so nice of you to say :D Nice to meet you~

Hart-Thank you! It was a difficult write... Thanks for stopping by and your kind words~ :D

Other Mary-Thank you, I know, but I wanted to end it on a positive note. One never knows the when or the if of a cure... I do know a neighbor has been on meds. They are slowing the process. Let's hope...

Kristin-Thank you and I so love how you inspire others~ I am gearing up for Monday(my favorite flavor. Okay one of them ;D) xo

Sherry-Yes, photos do help! I can't imagine not having them to help paint the memories! Yes, I remember it was so touching! Nene shared so much~

Scarlett-I am sorry to hear this~
It is so hard to see it happen!
Thank you (((hugs)))

Wanda-Thank you, it is a dark well, for so many! Thanks for visiting me...
Ella said…
Hank-You are so right! Thank you~
WE can only help them void, as life becomes a jigsaw sad!

Vicki-Thank you! What a gift your friend has given, wow! Yes, it is those that don't have the means, for assist! It is a tragic disease~

MPax-I'm so sorry to hear about your grandparents! I do wonder, too... Thank you, for sharing so much~(((hugs))) It is sad, very sad~

Jemi-Thank you! Yes, the opposite of a gift is the reality. The focus of losing one's place in the world into a dark void~ So sad...
Anonymous said…
Hi Ellen, it's been a while....I'm sorry I haven't been a friend lately. Hope we can catch up soon. Your poem is brilliantly written and captures the essence of this awful illness. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and my mother already suffers from the first signs. This scares me to death.

xo, abby
Ella said…
Hi Abby-I am so sorry to hear this!
It is so scary, I can't imagine. I hear about my aunt, but haven't seen her. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers~ I will stop by soon. xo

Sorry, I meant to get back sooner and comment! I am so touched by all everyone has shared and concerned...
It seems like we are hearing more n' more about this... When I was young, you might know one person...what is going on?!

Mary Ann-Thank you! The impact of this tragic illness seems to have touched all of us. I hope n' pray we discover why more cases every day...

Susie-I hope n' pray this isn't part of your future! It is always wise to get our feelings down and out...wonderful idea~ Thank you xo

Carol-Thank you! It reminds me how much of pain n' beauty are connected...

Bren-Thank you! I don't see her, but I am sending love lines. Every week, I'm making handmade cards and sending her notes with memories. I hope to awaken the good time, the magic that we shared~ xo

Nene-I remember what you shared about your beautiful Mamasita! Your story was so heart filled and touching~ I hope you will write a book about this facet of your life~ xo Thank you for sharing so much! I am sorry you and your siblings had to see this happen~
I'm sad for your Mamasita @>----

Alex-Thank you! It is such a tragedy...
Beautiful write Ella. I felt the impermanence of things and the hope of finding the right combination of things to unlock the mind--really lovely--although I am so deeply sorry--it is so difficult to lose someone to dementia
Mary said…
Reading this again for "Toads" today. A very strong poem, Ella. Even more so on the second read. If only there were a new key!
Grace said…
Such a poignant piece Ella ~ I wish we could keep those treasured memories in the light and find the key ~
beautiful, though sad, Ella! i especially love the second stanza.

Margaret said…
Boxes of letters,
piles of papers remain scattered
dusty faded thoughts with bent edges
trampled and stomped on
like damp leaves'

Hmm. Is this how our lovely "things" end up? Dementia is a letting go of these things I guess as well...

Beautiful poem.
Marian said…
yes, i'm glad to be reading this again, separate from the wave of dementia-related poems we were all reading in the summer. this is really strong, Ellen, profound and honoring. thanks for sharing. xo