I've written two poems, both of which are narrated by people with dementia. I am involved in a little charity called Kissing it Better, which sends teenagers, mainly, into care homes to read poems and sing to people with dementia, and I've been very very impressed, amazed often by the effects that these recitals have. I've seen a large number of very distressed people almost miraculously calmed down, at least for the time being by this, and of course while I have been in the care homes I have also made a mental note - never an actual note - but a mental note of speech patterns and things said and I wanted to try to make some of these into poems, ...

I've written two poems, both of which are narrated by people with dementia. I am involved in a little charity called Kissing it Better, which sends teenagers, mainly, into care homes to read poems and sing to people with dementia, and I've been very very impressed, amazed often by the effects that these recitals have. I've seen a large number of very distressed people almost miraculously calmed down, at least for the time being by this, and of course while I have been in the care homes I have also made a mental note - never an actual note - but a mental note of speech patterns and things said and I wanted to try to make some of these into poems, and this one has a made up name, 'Audrey Wills.' The person I was thinking of when I wrote this has some sort of multiple personality disorder.

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Audrey Wills

Two Late Portraits

1. Audrey Wills

I was a Brixham girl

and Dad’s boat was

the pride of the fleet

every day

when they came ashore

   I had my pick of the mackerel

   beautiful

shiny blue suits

 

then again

I was stationed on the flying boats

that was a lovely time

they came in    very low over the water

or seemed to

ask yourself

what will you remember

In Llandudno   on honeymoon

singing at night   can you hear me

singing   and

I painted my toenails red

I still do this

by myself

that’s me there

dancing round and round the house

without a single brown penny in my purse

 

you see what I am saying

I am living

every colour except grey

 

and     you would not believe

     I have

looked after everyone     O

but I have

when I go to the doctor now

I find the door    closed

  do I knock    what

do I do

 

I sing

 

come in    I am Richard    I landed

on Gold Beach    I am Peter

I was married to Steve for 57 years

      I am Helen aged 72

              and I do tatting

I am Ali a widow     I am Ron

and I enjoy boiled potatoes

and a drop of broth

I am not a lover of sweet things

as for me    I am Audrey    Audrey    open

the window

     and let me hear the seagulls

          le me hear the seagulls flying across

 

as for me     I love God and     I want to die

what better thing is there   to live for

 

 

from Peace Talks (Faber, 2015), © Andrew Motion 2015, used by permission of the author c/o The Wylie Agency (UK) Ltd.

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