She smiled, a grin of genuine contentment, someone at peace with who they are and the decisions they’ve made. She wore her dressing gown like an evening dress, and sipped her tea like royalty. I organised her medications and she talked while I worked, a pleasant bubbling of words and stories, her actions energetic and youthful.
I asked her what her secret was, and she told me,
“I was born in 1919. I’ll be ninety-five this year, and I walk two miles everyday.”
She winked and her brows danced.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Six months ago I put up a poem I’d written about a patient of mine who had Lewy Body dementia. The piece detailed the first visit I made to her house and my interaction with her and her husband, and how they were coping with her condition.
I was happy with the poem, satisfied that it accurately portrayed the visit while also working as a piece of poetry. The only problem I discovered was that not many people realised it was actually a poem.
In their defence, it is a free verse poem, and a particularly wordy one at that. The other issue is that poems are really designed to be performed so that you can hear the rhythm that’s been built into the words.
With this in mind, as well as resurrecting my piece, I’ve recorded my performance of the poem for anyone who was interested in how it was meant to sound.