Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Ageing and the power of poetry

Great little poem by Wendy Cope. It would do me good to memorise and recite this before I visit the residential home where I care for a number of patients with dementia. It's called, 'Names'.

She was Eliza for a few weeks when she was a baby
--Eliza Lily. Soon it changed to Lil.
Later she was Miss Steward in the baker's shop 
And then 'my love', 'my darling, Mother.
Widowed at thirty, she went back to work
As Mrs Hand. Her daughter grew up,
Married and gave birth.
Now she was Nanna.
'Everybody calls me Nanna,' she would say to visitors 
And so they did-friends, tradesmen, the doctor.
In the geriatric ward
They used the patient's Christian names. 
'Lil,' we said, 'or Nanna,'
But it wasn't in her file
And for those last bewildered weeks
She was Eliza once again. 

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