#DementiaActionWeek #DementiaActionAwarenessWeek 2021. 17th-23rd May. Day one. We must urge the government to cure the care system. Have you written unpublished/published work about dementia? Created artworks about dementia? Please contact me if you would like your work featured this week.

Day One

Dementia 1

Lost & Found

You got up by yourself this morning,
put on your own knickers,
said you fancied eggs and bacon.

You went outside – first time in two years,
to breathe the dawn air and
survey the world since you left it.

In a few days, you remembered
your name, the dog’s, who I was,
that the postman wasn’t your Dad.

You exchanged pleasantries
with the woman next door, no longer
suspecting her of plotting your murder.

The hairdresser turned your flat feathers
into a helmet of curls, in the mirror
igniting a glimmer of recognition.

We chucked the grab rails and Complan
drove the zimmer to the tip, turned
your pill box into earring storage.

Weeks went by, you took the car out,
joined the library, had a stab at calligraphy,
tried your first chai latte.

Then on Sunday we came home and there
you were on hands and knees under the table,
looking for something. You didn’t know what.

From Lost & Found published by Hedgehog Poetry Press 2020
Vicpickup.com / @vicpickup

-Vic Pickup

Recognition

Black and white prints
cover creased hands.
Eyes narrow, dazed,
not seeing…

We slung satchels over knitted cardigans,
slammed the door,
grey pleated skirts hitched high above the knee.

We stood to attention at the bell,
split from my look-a-like,
a whistle insisted we march
into separate classrooms.

In the sixties we explored
Brighton Laines,
rummaged antique stores,
picked up gold leafed books,
bought treasure boxes
to hide shared secrets.

We sank into striped deckchairs,
flipped off our tops to reveal
psychedelic swimsuits-
plastic sunglasses concealed our faces.
We lazed by gull-grey waves,
pebbles chattered at our feet.

We sniffed salt from the sea,
cardboard cones on our noses,
read Jackie in the sun.
A transistor radio blurred Cathy’s
Clown, from the Top Ten charts.

I sit by the iron framed bed,
wait for a flicker of recognition.

Chubby Checker
blasts from the box
high on the wall

Lillie looks up,
whispers my name.

‘Freddie – The Twist.
you and me that day
down in Brighton.’

– Patricia M Osborne (previously published in Reach Poetry (2016) )

-Annick Yerem (First published in Dreich)

Audrey’s time

We wheel her into
the waning evening sun
as if the sunlight
would somehow restore her
like some wilting plant.

She does not speak.
Not now.
Words run away
from her,
slipping her grasp
like unruly children,
reluctant to come home
at dusk.

We fill her time,
with family photos
till we have earned
our leave;
filial duty fulfilled
for yet another week.

She looks at
our departure
with shuttered eyes,
mouth ajar,
memories escaping
with every feeble wheeze,
whilst her tissue soft hands
clench and unclench
in her lap,
as if anticipating
some last
decisive assault,

which we think
guiltily
can’t come
too
soon.

-Nigel Kent

(published in ‘Saudade’, Nigel Kent, Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2019)

First published by The Blue Nib

REQUIEM FOR A CELLIST

She rocks rhythmically in her chair,
Her eyes dulled by grief, skeletal fingers
clutching rosary beads. In despair she chants
‘Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine’

The creeping evil nibbles away at her brain
She clenches her fists, howls
like a caged wolf, searching
desperately for her beloved ‘cello.

Then, as if by magic it appears, a Stradivari,
propped up by the Steinway grand,
pleading to be picked up and played again,
its bow sprawled across the piano lid,
resin box still unopened.

A sudden draft from the open window
breathes life back into the stale air.
Haunting sounds unlock iconic images,
transporting her to lovers’ beds, concert halls,
summer gardens and back-street alleys –
a heady rush of half-remembered liaisons,
ecstasy and pain intertwined.

Final chords crescendo then trail away
into the invading gloom of a winter twilight.
One last brave ‘da capo’- then peace descends.

Her weary frame crumples in dismay,
She attempts to rise from her chair, pleads
one last time: ‘Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine’

-Margaret Royall

A Message

One of the best of minds
destroyed by dementia

does not howl on her knees
in the street, does not masturbate

in the magnolia living-room,
is not dragged off the roof-top,

naked; no, she leaves a message
on her daughter’s answer-phone

saying: there’s an echo,
an echo in my head.

-Olive M. Ritch

1. Sat At Tideline With (A Crown Sonnet Sequence)

Sat at tideline with all my belongings.
Longings in belongings. No you can’t. Don’t.
Wave waxing pulls my stuff, drags itl Slipping.
It can’t have it. I won’t give in. I won’t.

Ripple recedes as it pulls away from me.
Then it rises, swoops like bloody murder.
Sucks at my frames, pictures of family.
Don’t remember what I’ve lost. I suffer

from losing nothing. People tell me what
I’ve lost. I’m none the wiser. I need my bag.
They steal my bag. Then help me find it. That’s
why I carry it with me. My keys they rag.

They lift up stuff, say It’s here. Discovered.
My photos, my ornaments, all gathered

2. All Gathered

My photos, my ornaments, all gathered
into me beside a sea that steals, hoards.
I painted three cat pictures. I’m mithered,
I can’t recall their names. Lose the cord.

Hoppy had only three legs. Long haired love.
In life you collect things for a reason,
then forget the reason. Heaven’s above.
I need to write stuff down. Where’s my pen gone?

My pen is in my bag. Someone’s stolen
my bag. “Let me help you look.” Says carer.
In my pile of valuables, well hidden.
What do I need my pen for? Waves closer.

We are steadfast and keen in preserving
against receding waves that keep pulling.

-Paul Brookes

Bios and Links

-Margaret Royall

is a Laurel Prize nominated poet. She has been shortlisted for several poetry prizes and won the Hedgehog Press’ collection competition 2020. She has two poetry collections:

Fording The Stream and Where Flora Sings, a memoir in prose and verse, The Road To Cleethorpes Pier and a new pamphlet, Earth Magicke out April 2021. She has been widely published online and in print, most recently: Hedgehog Press, The Blue Nib, Impspired & forthcoming in Sarasvati and Dreich.

She performs regularly at open mic events and facilitates a women’s poetry group in Nottinghamshire.

Website: https://margaretroyall.com

Twitter: RoyallMargaret

Instagram : meggiepoet

Facebook Author Page: Facebook.com/margaretbrowningroyall

Annick Yerem

lives and works in Berlin. In her dreams, she can swim like a manatee. Annick tweets @missyerem and has, to her utmost delight, been published by Pendemic, Detritus, @publicpoetry, RiverMouthReview, #PoetRhy, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Rejection Letters, Dreich, 192, The Failure Baler and Rainbow Poems. https://missyerem.wordpress.comhttps://linktr.ee/annickyerem

-Nigel Kent
is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019 and 2020) and reviewer who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is an active member of the Open University Poetry Society, managing its website and occasionally editing its workshop magazine.
He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. In 2019 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his first collection, ‘Saudade’, following the success of his poetry conversations with Sarah Thomson, ‘Thinking You Home’ and ‘A Hostile Environment’. In August 2020 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his pamphlet, Psychopathogen, which was nominated for the 2020 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets and made the Poetry Society’s Winter List.
In 2021 he was shortlisted for the Saboteur Award for Reviewer of Literature.
To find out more visit his website: http://www.nigelkentpoet.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @kent_nj

-Olive M. Ritch

is a poet originally from Orkney. She was the recipient of the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award 2020 and in 2006, she received the Calder Prize for Poetry from the University of Aberdeen. Her work has been extensively published in literary magazines, anthologies and websites including Poetry Review, Agenda, The Guardian, New Writing Scotland, The Poetry Cure (Bloodaxe) and the Scottish Poetry Library. Her work has also been broadcast on Radio 4.

2 thoughts on “#DementiaActionWeek #DementiaActionAwarenessWeek 2021. 17th-23rd May. Day one. We must urge the government to cure the care system. Have you written unpublished/published work about dementia? Created artworks about dementia? Please contact me if you would like your work featured this week.

  1. Dear Wombwell Rainbow.My indie press just published “The Lock-Picker”, a poetry collection by Sue Proffitt about living alongside her mother who was suffering from dementia. Her poems explore the nature of self, memory, identity and what it truly means only to exist in the present moment. Sue hopes readers and other carers might feel changed as a result and a little less alone. Here’s one of Sue’s poems, a Press Release and a link https://palewellpress.co.uk/Books-Health.html#Lock-Picker Ropes Summer, sun pressing against the window: a child denied attention. The fire is on, ‘The King and I’choruses its story.  Do you remember?lobbing memories like ropesbegging a catch. Yes I do! Your smile returns you so that even now six years disappear –singing  Getting to Know You as I knead the bumps and cracks in your feet, resting in my handslike broken birds. And I wonder who’s clinging to whom –you, grasping at the parts of yourself I throw towards you, or me, watching  your frantic eyes go under,scrabbling in the wreckagefor something, anythingto keep you afloat. By every bedsidein every airless room so many, half-in, half-out, flail beseeching hands  and those of us on the edgehear our voices pleading let go! let go!all the time throwing ropes.

    Very best wishes – Camilla Camilla Reeve, Senior Editor Palewell Press Ltd – Human Rights, Social History and Environmental publishing Tel: +44(0)771-332-7217 Web: http://www.palewellpress.co.uk

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