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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: Aged Pilgrim
By Margaret Kearley


(Written for those who suffer from, or care for, those with dementia)

A vase of flowers, that speaks of Spring,
Bright painted walls, rich curtaining,
Pictures adorning every wall,
And photos framed lining the hall,
The table neatly set for tea....
I hold your hand and silently
Ask – ‘Do you see what I see?’

Soft laughter, chats, accompany
The daily afternoon TV,
Familiar sounds of everyday
Float round us and I aching say
With soundless word and falling tear
‘I cannot reach you any more,
You cannot hear what I hear.’

I wonder, is your heart still stirred
By gentle hug, and caring word?
Does any joy-filled memory
Of loving friends and family
Reappear with a sense real
Or is all this hidd’n and concealed,
So you don’t feel what I feel?

Then, from a nearby piano, one
Strikes up a tune and starts to hum
And sing a glorious Gospel song
And suddenly, you sing along....
Waken as if from dormant rest,
You live again, by Gods Word blessed,
And sing of Him who saved your soul
Whose own you are, His Home your goal.
For just a time, hymn after hymn,
Your true self is no longer dim,
Your spirit soars, your soft eyes shine
As if with radiant light divine.
The music ends and you withdraw
And rest, in vacancy, once more.

I hold your hand, and this is real,
Though you can’t see, and hear and feel
Like those of us in life’s fast throng,
Already you’ve a different song
That’s tuned to Heaven, home of the blessed,
Where soon you’ll know Eternal Rest.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
This is beautiful. I can feel the love in each word and the rhythm tugs at my heart. It reminds me of a lady in our church who gets excited every day that it is Sunday and she gets dressed for church. Someone commented how sad, but my minister said how awesome though she can't hold onto every memory here mind and heart cling to the church. You reminded me of just how awesome that truly is.
Virgil Youngblood 01/25/13
You stirred beautiful memories of my mother-in-law. Though she did not know her family anymore,she joyfully sang the gospel songs from memory when someone came to the nursing home to lead music.
Beth LaBuff 01/25/13
Stunningly beautiful! I love the poignancy and tenderness of your message, and despite dementia the mind can still worship. You have a beautiful message for the caregiver. As always, your meter is excellent. Love this!
C D Swanson 01/25/13
Awww, touched my heart. This was superb. Excellent job. God bless~
Bonnie Bowden 01/26/13
Poignant poem. I sometimes wonder how much the person knows and feels and just can't express in words anymore.
Carolyn Ancell01/27/13
Right on! Many of the patients I work with suffer from dementia. As soon as I play a familiar old song or hymn on the harp, though, they connect and participate, even if only momentarily. I once had a patient who, after I played "Red River Valley," said, "I can sing that in Latin!" And then he did. All I could figure was that his Latin teacher many decades before had set Latin phrases to familiar tunes to help the students learn. And he remembered!
Catherine Craig 01/27/13
Title got me. I identified with the "aged" part, sort of. The story embraced the concept nicely, poignantly. Congrats and God Bless.
Ellen Carr 01/28/13
This is beautiful and brought me nearly to tears. The music aspect is so true - experienced in my grandmother who, despite great memory loss, could still sing 'Danny Boy', word-perfect not long before she died. Music promotes memory, which makes hymns and Christian songs even more important than they are for other reasons. Well written. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/31/13
Congratulations for ranking 40th overall