Friday, May 18, 2007

a fiercer love

Ray has a form of dementia [vascular - blood vessels in the brain hardening and getting smaller]. Ray is my dad. He and mum [Rosemary] adopted me when I was a few months old. He's just turned 80 and is still very fit physically, but the dementia is advancing. Speedily. It seems so hard that someone so interested in life, so optimistic and so selfless should find himself in this place. It's also really tough for Rosemary. I've been finding this poem helpful - 'Geriatric' by RS Thomas:

What god is proud
of this garden
of dead flowers, this underwater
grotto of humanity,
where limbs wave in invisible
currents, faces drooping
on dry stalks, voices clawing
in a last desperate effort
to retain hold? Despite withered
petals, I recognise
the species: Charcot, Meniere,
Alzheimer. There are no gardeners
here, caretakers only
of reason overgrown
by confusion. This body once,
when it was in bud,
opened to love's kisses. These eyes,
cloudy with rheum,
were clear pebbles that love's rivulet
hurried over. Is this
the best Rabbi Ben Ezra
promised? I come away
comforting myself, as I can,
that there is another
garden, all dew and fragrance,
and that these are the brambles
about it we are caught in,
a sacrifice prepared
by a torn god to a love fiercer
than we can understand.

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