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Tinker

Forgotten

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Forgotten

At ninety four or maybe ninety five,
he puts on his best bow tie
and a starched shirt,
now too big around the collar.
His clear blue eyes dance
in anticipation of this outing.

The round clock on the home's wall
clicks past the hour, then past the next.
His withered frame fidgets and droops
in the chair placed by the lobby window.
Still with watering eyes he watches
and waits
----------for his son to come
---------------------or maybe his grandson.--------
---------------------- --- Judi Van Gorder

Inspired by Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

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Heartbreaking, Tinker. Each time I read this I want to believe it's not true, that family members really are coming for this person, but it's clear from the title that no one is. That gives the poem a surreality and makes the story especially disheartening because the guy is not without issue. I mean, I can see this happening to me -- I have no children -- but this is a great-grandfather!

 

Your choice of form is pleasing. Fourteen lines make for a compact poem that packs a powerful punch, an effective choice especially for the sobering subject matter.

 

One thing I found to be particularly evocative was your use of the word "home['s]" in L7:

 

The round clock on the home's wall ...

We call it a home, but it's hardly that.

 

The indentations at the end work well. I find that they act like an ellipsis and leave a lingering feeling. I loved it.

 

Tony

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Thanks for responding Tony. I wish I could take more credit for this, I wrote it after reading Water For Elephants, a chapter of which I just condensed and added some embellishments with my own twist.. I read the chapter through a flood of tears. It is such a good book, and I won't spoil the end... They are making it into a movie.

 

"the home" is what they call it but you are right, as hard as they may try, it is nothing like home. But the scenario plays out in hundreds, maybe thousands of "homes" every day in one way or another. Memory is a tricky thing, especially as one ages...

 

Having children is no insurance for your old age. Just live life well today and meet the future head on when you get to it.

 

~~Tink

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No apology needed. This perhaps qualifies as a 'found' poem, but that does not make it any less excellent. And Sara Gruen woud be flattered and pleased by having her work giving rise to such a grand and emotionally universal observation. I have it by word of mouth from Robert Bly who insists anyone else who steaks a poem from his is welcome, as long as it has that indescribable, transcendental quality that marks the truely great poems.

 

I cried, because I just came back from the funeral of a fellow who was dear to me since 1952 and had spent his last days in a nigh similar situation. I had no contact with him, due to no one's fault but the circumstance known as life.

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Hi Ike, Thank you for the kind words. Sorry about your friend. I know what you mean, it isn't really neglect it is just that life moves on and often gets in the way of making those small gestures that can mean so much to one who's life has slowed down.

 

I just visited my Uncle Jimmy 2 weeks ago, he is 94 (95 Dec 8) and still living independantly and bowls in a league twice a week. He has a full life and still I felt guilty that I hadn't seen him in 6 months, he only lives 2 hours away. I have another Uncle Ray, 92 years old who is in an assisted living facillity and he isn't doing as well physically but he is as sharp as a tack mentally. He reads constantly. He was a fighter pilot in WWII and was shot down over France and broke his neck. The damage has caught up to him. I also visited with him since they are in the same area. My father's brothers. Every time I see them I wonder if I will see them again. My Dad died at 56 but my grandmother lived to 102 and was never in a "home". Other than becoming frail in the last few years, she lived with Uncle Jimmy and my Aunt Helen until she just didn't wake up one morning. (My mother's younger sister married my father's older brother, so we are a very close family.)

 

~~Tink

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I wish I could take more credit for this, I wrote it after reading Water For Elephants, a chapter of which I just condensed and added some embellishments with my own twist.

I meant to say in my last comment that, to me, your inspiration for writing this poem was itself inspiring. I love learning about anyone's source of inspiration, and here I'm lucky enough to know the poets well enough to ask.;) So, I think it's wonderful that a book you read inspired you to write a poem. That hasn't happened to me yet.

 

Tony

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Hi Ike, Thank you for the kind words. Sorry about your friend. I know what you mean, it isn't really neglect it is just that life moves on and often gets in the way of making those small gestures that can mean so much to one who's life has slowed down.

 

I just visited my Uncle Jimmy 2 weeks ago, he is 94 (95 Dec 8) and still living independantly and bowls in a league twice a week. He has a full life and still I felt guilty that I hadn't seen him in 6 months, he only lives 2 hours away. I have another Uncle Ray, 92 years old who is in an assisted living facillity and he isn't doing as well physically but he is as sharp as a tack mentally. He reads constantly. He was a fighter pilot in WWII and was shot down over France and broke his neck. The damage has caught up to him. I also visited with him since they are in the same area. My father's brothers. Every time I see them I wonder if I will see them again. My Dad died at 56 but my grandmother lived to 102 and was never in a "home". Other than becoming frail in the last few years, she lived with Uncle Jimmy and my Aunt Helen until she just didn't wake up one morning. (My mother's younger sister married my father's older brother, so we are a very close family.)

 

~~Tink

 

How about that! My father's older sister (he is #2 of 7 children) married my mothers #3 brother (My mom is #4, a twin, and is one of 8 or 9children.) Is that why you and I are such great talemts? :icon_redface:

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oh this poem brought a tear to my eye! you paint such a vivid picture of the old man! i could see him, his eyes and his disappointment alone in a chair waiting!

 

very well observed and structured!

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Hi Tinker,

 

Your writings always hit a tender spot in me. The first part is so vivid and lovely and the second, heartrending.

 

Your family has a history of high life expectancy!

 

Lake

Edited by Lake

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I don't even know how to start my comment for this master piece, Tinker. I am touched by the spirit in this poem. Sadness in a high, world level. This is heartbreaking poem, as Tony wrote. I read all comments and all together brings such moments of sadness, and I read this poem over and over with with tears in my eyes. It reminds me of the idea of my writing and this is something that I wished I wrote. I was always touched when I was watching my grandfather looking in his old house at his village, or better said, the ruins of his house back then ( now we have built a house there again) and I was wondering always what he has on his mind, what he sees with his tearful eyes...

I know the subject of your poem is different, but goes together with the life of old people, always longing, being nostalgic about their youth, their parents, family almost all dead, or if they have family after them, as children, longing for them if they are far away and always in silence awaiting their death... Really sad. I was always saying I don't want to live long and be in my so old age. I am enough stressed about that, even when only imagining how could be. I know I sound morbid and negative but it's just me...

 

I am happy that I went back and read this poem, after some time of silence. This is wonderful poem.

 

Aleksandra

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