Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Doom's Day

Just down the street
is an old people’s home,
an institutional trap.
It is not for the injured,
the bleeding, or bent,
but for those who are guilty
of a most terrible fault—
Their sin is old age.
They are captives of time
brought here to rot,
to be out of the way.
They’re a burden on young ones
who come just to stay
for a moment or two
on some rainy day.

A face at the window,
a lady so tiny and frail…
with eyes hauntingly sad,
who slowly retreats
into the gloom
of her dismal room.

Along comes a hearse
and parks right outside,
a sign of finality
for all who reside,
Out comes the litter
with its burden so cold.
Another face and a tear
at the door.

Perhaps some day
not too distant and far,
I’ll be brought to this place
and led through the door.
I’ll shout and I’ll scream,
I’ll kick and I’ll struggle—
my captors will smile,
“It’s all for the best,”
they will say.

I beg of you now,
don’t let them take me.
My life will be nothing
if I am not free.
When I can no longer
take care of myself,
I beg of you, please,
take me into the wilds
and then leave.
Let me drop out
as one from the herd.
Let me make peace
within the sound of a bird.
The last thing I’ll see,
if you will allow,
will be mountains and forests,
perhaps a deer or two,
and an eagle to guide me.
I’ll think of my friends
and my family, too.
I’ll think of those
I am leaving behind, and
those who have gone.
This is my wish …
my rightful direction.

Vi Jones
©January 24, 2006


At 4:01 PM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

Vi, this is so honest and powerful. No, no-one would ever let this happen to you. Besides, you are a resident of the Hermitage and they don't do that stuff here! The trees will hold you dreaming:-)

At 5:19 PM, Blogger le Enchanteur said...

I will go to the home if... I have a private room with space for a desk, some books and my computer - with ADSL link up of course. Then I will still be able to stay on at Rivesleigh until I die and even then, my spirit will wander around the old place annoying people.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Vi Jones said...

Thank you, Imogen. And Le Enchanteur, I bet you would conjour mischief enough to drive those folks batty.


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Leonie Bryant said...

Dear Vi,
This is so powerfully written, and sad to say a reality in our society. It is also something that I can see looming up ahead.
May all your wishes come true.

At 1:07 AM, Blogger Lois said...

Always two sides to ageing and aged care...It is not an evenly shared responsibility ...usually the Daughter does most of the hard work of caring....Then the governments in developed countries do not provide respite to families,fail to keep people in their own homes with home service care...Costing of this works out that it is the most economical of all care.......
But what we are seeing is private agencies getting government contracts to set up hostels,n-homes etc at huge cost to government and residents..so it works out those who can pay pay, those who can't are prey to illegal care....
It is a looming problem about to hit....Holland has the best idea..you pay for the future in your first pay packet ,and pay till you stop work or when you need care...starting off with
Home Care
Hostel Care
N/Home care .....
Therefore it means all are cared for who need it....
In Australia Private enterprise has their foot well in the door..
It will be a long time coming Vi when countries like ours allow us to die with dignity...We have case after case here in Australia on assisted suicide ( as it is called) but it is dying with dignity denied to those who chose this path,that means they have to break the law...
As you say Vi...your wish and rightful direction is yours and yours alone at the end..
A thought provoking poem for many to read....
I have seen it too many times in my working life Vi....

Lois (muse of the sea)

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Janie Hart said...

Vi, this is something special. Rather confronting as well. I felt sad at the start but at the end your determination in being free brought a sense of reassurance. Lovely

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Believer said...

Hello Vi,

Two thoughts. You definitely hit a nerve. If I have a choice, at home or outside under a tree, please. I'm writing a novel called The Home--not quite as serious as it sounds, but one character keeps wandering off for all the reasons in your poem.

Second thought is more positive. I searched for birthday twins once and got a couple who were exact (month, date, year) and also a wonderful woman who was born on my birth date and was over 90. She was in pretty good shape so she read and wrote letters for others. She made crafts to help raise money for the care center and was a delight to correspond with.

I think we all hope and pray we won't grow too old.


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