Gently, very gently She held the child in her arms She was a mother, a protector And would shield her from all of life’s harms. Or at least that’s what the lady thought As she leaned down to coo and smile As she breathed her nicotine breath on her And passed germs to her baby so vile. The child at four got cancer At six she’s no longer here Yet the mother still smokes in her sorrow For those who won’t listen never hear.
He looked in the mirror at the map of his life Covered in scars from the surgeons’ knife A line down the centre from a life-time ago Faded, but hideous, from a time of his woe. The scar on his leg was from ankle to knee Not something he’d ever expected to see There’s cuts on his wrists and backs of his hands Where the cannulae went in attached to drip stands But all that remains are the bits of scar tissue Nothing at all, not really an issue.
We all have these scars, they mark who we are Some can’t be seen, there’s more hidden by far But they serve to remind us that we aren’t alone We all need help sometimes, we’re not on our own.
There’s another impressive scar on his head But if it wasn’t there, he’d surely be dead The same with the others, they’re ugly old things But they mark off the years, in the way of tree rings.
Wizened by the hardships of his life he moved his tired old body to the edge, it took him longer to get out of his bed these days, but get up he would for if there was one thing he had learnt it was that time spent in bed was time lost in the fields and the crops didn’t pick themselves, of that he thought he was sure, though he couldn’t quite remember why.
He sometimes wished that he had not been so adamant about farming in the old way – a bit of that confounded modern machinery would sure help sometimes as digging potatoes across all those acres was hard work and he’d been doing it for so long he was beginning to hate the blasted things – he certainly never ate them, preferring instead to eat all his food from cans as a way of getting his own back on some other poor so and so who probably hadn’t broken his back at harvest time for sixty years.
Dad – Dad – it’s Tom , Dad, your son, never mind Dad, perhaps you’ll remember me later. It’s alright. What potatoes? – It’s alright Dad, let’s sit here and you can tell me – no please – please Dad, don’t cry – please don’t cry. I know Dad I miss Mum too. I wish I could explain Dad I really do.
Why does this horrible man always keep me from my work, I’ve got tomatoes – – potatoes to pick, tomatoes, potatoes, well I’ve got to pick them anyway. Why should I sit down? Tell you about what? I’m not going to tell a stranger where my potatoes are, or is it tomatoes? I’m not sure now. I must sleep – I’ve got lots to do, I must be fresh when I start.
Dad – Dad – you sleep now then. I’ll just be in the next room. Perhaps – perhaps we’ll talk a bit later. I miss you Dad………….
[This is a repost that is a direct response to the continuing cuts in services within the NHS. The front line are doing the work with one hand tied behind their back. This is one of those services. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia and there is currently no cure. There is also inadequate funding in both care and research.]