We thought we were indestructible…

We thought we were indestructible
That the world was ours to grasp
It was clear it was the old ‘n’  incorrigible
Who’s breath came out in a rasp.

And so we lived our comfortable lives
Thinking mainly of ourselves and our own
Getting the best cars to fit in our drives
Making certain our lawns were all mown.

We only applied for the very top posts
Believing, as we did, we’re the best
Entertaining bosses as such perfect hosts
We really were promotion obsessed.

Then one of you is ill, you’re pulled up dead short
It makes you evaluate your life
You start to resent being one of your sort
The thought cuts your soul like a knife.

As time passes by you realise you do care
At the way of the world and the hurt
The way that the rich have far more than their share
While others look for food in the dirt.

Perhaps though, most of us go through this change
When the blinkers finally fall from the eyes
We recognise that apathy is wrong and so strange
It’s the time we start hearing sufferer’s cries.

Soon your own health gets you into the time-frame
Where your sneezes and wheezes start to count
And you worry that things will never be the same
And are you warm and eating the right amount!

You realise you’re far from indestructible
As your breath come out in a rasp
But for you life is ever so precious
And you’ll hang on with your dying gasp.

©Joe Wilson – We thought we were indestructible…2015


The clock ticks on
Life moves forward a notch
And we as fools survive
In self-absorbing  hotchpotch.


The clock ticks on
And failings and success compete
For space within our cluttered lives
The world no longer, is at our feet.

The clock ticks on
And wrinkles start to show
Our footing slips on the ladder of life
And aging pains begin to grow.

The clock ticks on
Our hearts begin to race and flutter
Our memories lose a thread or two
And we start to mumble and mutter.

The clock ticks on
And she or he forgets our name
We know the truth of dementia well
Our parents went through this the same.

The clock ticks on
And one of us will disappear
The other left to fend for themselves
In a life now filled with fear.

The clock ticks on
And on
And on
And on………


©Joe Wilson – Ticks…2015

The Fall…

I fell from the top of a tall block of apartments.

How I remember my children growing
and the never-ending beauty of my wife
my boy and my girl, so full of knowing
my darling, the centre of my humble life.

But the ground rushes up at me as I fly down so fast.

I’ve loved the same woman for all of my time
contented and happy and passionate are we
I remember the night full of vodka and lime
when I asked my love if she would marry me.

And still the ground races up at me…

What joy we have had on our long journey here
with some pains that we’ve shared and endured
sadness has crept in and occasional fear
but we beat it all back and we still feel assured.

I hit the ground — there is nowhere else to go…

Did I make it…did I not?
Was it a dream…was it not?

©The Executor acting for Joe Wilson – The Fall…2015

Some things cannot be bought…

Within his head there are thoughts, so many
most are irrelevant and thus ten a penny
though rare amongst his brain’s detritus
a thought whirls round just like St. Vitus
yet as he struggles this thought’s recall
he knows not if it be grand, or small.

And then it’s gone and is no more
remembers not he, nor is he sure
thus he returns to comfort’s while
wanders round his country pile
his life of wealth is all for naught
soundness of mind cannot be bought.


©Joe Wilson – Some thing cannot be bought…2015

Difficult conversations…2014 (reviewed)



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.]

©Joe Wilson – Difficult conversations… 2014 (reviewed)

I remember…

I remember
back to a time
when the black dog
hung around my neck
like a heavy yoke, I
could never be rid of
the terror that it
would not someday return
to seek me out and strike
me down again, and the knowing
how close I had come to succumbing.

I remember edging closer to the crowded
platform’s edge, too filled with fear to realise
the probable selfishness of what I was about to
do, only vaguely aware of where I actually was, but
just able to register that touch on my right arm
and the voice that quietly whispered, “I don’t really think
you want to do that.” I remember turning to see who’d said it
and seeing that there was just a crowd of people. Of the owner
of the voice there was no sign, but it had been enough.
It had been enough to make me realise where I was,
for the moment passed and I made my way back.

Back to the arms of the woman who had always loved me,
and who had carefully, lovingly, nursed me back to health
over such a long time. I wept. I put my head on her gentle
shoulder and I wept as I had never wept before. I wept for all
I still felt, and I wept for all the selfish anguish I would have
caused this woman had I let myself fall,

for that surely had been my intention.

©Joe Wilson – I remember…2014

This experience is my own. It followed a period of severe depression after a
subarachnoid haemorrhage in 1986. Thankfully the depression eventually lifted and
has long gone.

The cruel hand of fate…

Things were very different in the Sixties
Everything was like new fresh breath
But this sad, true tale of my childhood
Is the tale of a friend’s early death.

Peter helped the Co-op grocers delivery-man
After he’d finished school for the day
He’d sit on an upturned milk crate
And they drove merrily along on their way.

He’d helped the man deliver for ages
It was what teenage boys would often do
But as the van took a corner in Rising Brook
Out to his sad fate Peter flew.

The van only had the single driver’s seat
No one else was supposed to be there
And the doors all slid back and stayed open
Safety wasn’t really thought about to be fair.

So out of the van my friend Peter flew
And fate treated him so very very cruel
He disappeared right under a passing bus
Right in front of the gates to his school.

My best friend was Harry, Peter’s brother
And for him everything changed on that day
I watched Harry wither before me
As his spirit of mischief flew away.

Just a few years later Harry drifted
I’ve not seen him from that day to now
But I hope he was able to find for himself
A way to survive the horror somehow.

I’ve not spoken of this since those dark days
and the flood of the memory is still raw
If only I could step back and warn him
My friend, please, please close the door.

By a sad twist of irony I lost my brother as well
He was struck down by the first ‘Asian Flu’
That memory hurts like a stab in the heart
I was twenty, he was just twenty-two.


©Joe Wilson – The cruel hand of fate…2014

Sadly, this is entirely true. Peter was killed falling under a bus in this manner and my brother was a recently married policeman who died of so-called ‘Asian Flu’ in 1970.

Wendell in love…

Wendell. Wendell. Fetch a blanket for me please
No Wendell, the nice one, and Wendell agrees
The chill of the day brings an ache to her knees
And Wendell, dear Wendell, his darling he sees.

Wendell and Agatha were a husband and wife
She a little blunt now, he sharp like a knife
They’d married and settled on the farm with its strife
To Wendell it seemed like the whole of his life.

Married in an old church before records were kept
At least, Wendell thought that when feeling inept
But out in the fields were the flowers where he wept
And he’d dream of their beauty even as he slept.

He took Aggie out there on warm Summer days
Where they stayed and relaxed till the sunset brought haze
Then he’d drive her back home sometimes catching her gaze
And in it saw her beauty like in the old days.

Illness took so much of his Aggie away
There lives changed dramatically in every way
Her lovely dark hair had turned instantly grey
And now there was harshness in things that she’d say.

But Wendell loved Aggie with all of his might
He just took her bad moods as part of her plight
And not the great woman who he’d loved at first sight
Who’d always stood by him when they’d needed to fight.

So Wendell took his Agatha to the flowers each day
Where they sat for awhile admiring the display
And if a sad tear tried to run down his face
He’d not let her see it, he’d wipe it away.

©Joe Wilson – Wendell in love…2014

My beloved parents…

His now withered hand hardly moved
and yet I still knew what he meant
but it hurt me so to see my Dad
once a man so powerfully strong
be brought down by a bad heart
and by arthritis and so cruelly bent.

His last eleven years were all in pain
it was plain for all to see
he worked all through the second vile war
sometimes in long eighteen-hour shifts
but he died at only fifty-two
in front of my siblings and me.

I will never know how my dear Mum coped
there were six of us to raise
and though she struggled, oh how she struggled
she fed and clothed us by means
It was only much later as an adult
that I understood and looked back in praise.

©Joe Wilson – My beloved parents…2014


“I think therefore I am” Descartes once said
But with no thought left is one then dead?
For now, my head is full of thought
Some is random and some was taught
I fight so hard to keep it full
Against inevitable ageing’s pull
I’ll write my words, do crosswords too
Anything that will stir my stew
I’ll fight it every which way too
By always finding things to do
But if it finally comes to pass
You’ll find me in the old long grass.

In the warren that is my mind
I remember that I must be kind
Ere long will I remember that
Growing frail is such a twat!

©Joe Wilson – Frailty… 2014

“Cogito ergo sum” “Je pense, donc je suis
Rene Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650)