memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘the future’

Bark bark

Bark on, sister, bark on

At the aged creature who dithers

Listless all day in a mental fog

Who’s queued all afternoon

In a gloomy crowded room

 with a thousand years

Of spent humanity

Nodding off in front of

The stultifying crassness

Of daytime TV

Whiling the long hours away

In senile topor


Suddenly whirled into tea

Mashed up dried biscuits

In an oversized heavy cup

Of milk or tea

Or milky coffee

Dunking bread

From time immemorial

Into the turgid liquid

Dazed and confused

Harried and hustled

Hectored and admonished

Muffled shouting

Hardly reaching

Into damaged mind

And broken memory.


Bark on, sister, bark on

But consider this:

Nothing divides you from them

But three odd decades.

Your present is their past

Their present is your future.

Evenings are another country

The days here at the Home have a semblance of normality but the evenings, well the evenings are another country where at times one’s thoughts are darkened by the sighs of the old ones lifting, vapours rising from the dark earth in a country church-yard.

They dip in and out of sleep with moist eyes fluttering weakly rolling in their sockets.

I am sitting by Sr. Manuel, tall, skeletal, fine distinguished face ravaged by sores and blotches spasmodic hands clutching flapping hiding his cavernous eyes weeping muttering quiet persuasive senseless words.

Sr. Manuel has Alzheimer’s Disease: not Mild Cognitive Impairment like a lot of old people here but full-blown Alzheimer’s.

The noise is intense (five or six women all talking near the top of their voices) and he is agitated; I recall that, unlike most people here, he is a cultivated man and was a journalist by trade and indeed had books published.

After the Noise has left quiet descends but I stay on at his side for about a quarter of an hour. His dark restless eyes skidding all over the place at times settle on me, intense and disturbing. I strive to empathize with him but without much success. I feel helpless and sad. I suspect he is in great mental agony. Is this my future?


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