The 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day. This poem, written five years ago, is dedicated to my mother in law, Rosemary, who lived alongside of Alzheimer’s for a number of years.
May your blanket be woven of spring time threads,
and flamespun from the azalea outside your window,
wild garlic fattening the woodland paths,
your fields, bested by bluebells,
Welsh oak, wild cherry, the rising sound
of saplings, keening in the breeze.
The crushed camelia heads that cushion the verge
below the trees
that you loved to see
as we were Fishguard, ferry bound.
Red petals gracing too, the secret garden,
where, a few snatched weeks ago,
we picked for you
lingering strong and plump,
golden on your windowsill.
Sea thrift and campion binding the two Heads,
Dinas and Morfa dipping Westwards,
unwittingly majestic and yet, now, forlorn.
No longer held in your view.
Yet you loved to look out over these landmarks,
on kinder, gentler days,
as you stared across the Bay
sometime sea shimmered,
at others, murk misted
“Can’t see Dinas Head’, you’d say.
But cliffs and headlands prevail,
as you well knew,
through older age and illness,
cup of tea reviving,
Ages slipped by, unwittingly,
as such they do,
and I am sure,
you gathered your very self in,
Harder to distinguish then
your hopes, your fears,
the altered state
the change of mind.
Some things are, it seems,
beyond the ken
of us, the ones to remain behind.
to nurse your memory,
there must be laughter,
there will be tears.
But for all that changed,
across these widowed years,
a crossword clue determined
a flash of will.
And of this I am,
it might seem to be
sure enough and
ready to greet us
behind the ethereal, floating curtain.