Polly

Writings and Witterings

He Sits And Waits

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I was privileged to be the first headliner at a new spoken word event in Worcester, ‘Dear Listener’, organised by Charley Barnes. I finished my set with ‘He Sits And Waits‘. When the first version of this poem was written, I was thinking about my father, who had Alzheimer’s. I was particularly thinking about how his final two years of life had been for him.
Whilst ‘He Sits And Waits‘ is about my father’s dying days this poem is not only about capturing a moment, it reflects on our wider concerns.
At the time, I was studying form in poetry and wanted to create a Kyrielle.
It was the most commented upon poem in my entire set. Difficult to perform, this rendering made it ‘worth it’.

He Sits And Waits

He sits and waits, he is hungry.
He ponders what he was thinking,
for a moment, a rare inkling.
Do all things end as they begin?

The hanky from the laundry room,
his daughter, bound to be here soon.
His eyes tear up as he reaches.
Do all things end as they begin?

He ponders what he was thinking,
just one moment ago, sinking…
I am hungry, he thinks, then smiles.
Do all things end as they begin?

He waits, he sits, he is hungry,
food appears, it’s here, it’s too soon,
it’s before him, from where, from whom?
Do all things end as they begin?

He blinks, looks for a fork, a spoon.
He peers beneath the platter, croons,
he sees it, a new full blue moon.
Do all things end as they begin?

But arm does not go where he wants,
and hand will not go where he wants,
when he tells it to grip the spoon.
Do all things end as they begin?

He is hungry, sits with repast,
‘Lord have mercy, I could eat fast,
if only I could grip and grasp.’
Do all things end as they begin?

It smells here, he sniffs and snivels.
‘Help Lord, have mercy,’ he dribbles.
Anytime now—surely—to eat.
Do all things end as they begin?

Wet blue glance just reaches once more,
the white handkerchief laundered for…
who was it? A girl. Girl no more.
Do all things end as they begin?

The spoon, is it where it ought’er?
Something about food, his daughter.
The spoon could be up on the moon.
Do all things end as they begin?

Blue eyes mist up with dismay
,
see the world dimly, far away.
The spoon or the moon or my girl?
Do all things end as they begin?

He sits and waits, he is hungry.
He ponders what he was thinking,
just moments ago, an inkling.
Do all things end as they begin?

Polly Stretton © 2012

First published in ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’, Black Pear Press, 2012.

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4 thoughts on “He Sits And Waits

  1. I recognized this poem from Girl’s Got Rhythm, and it’s just as powerful to me now as it was when I read it back then. You’ve captured the sadness and difficulty of the illness so perfectly. It evokes so many feelings in the reader.

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    • I am pleased to see you remembered it from GGR, it seems such an age ago that I published my first collection. And it was good to hear that it meant a lot to others, some said the same sort of think about sadness and illness as you have here, Carrie. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG. This is brilliant. I know exactly how this looks but not how it felt. So sad.

    Like

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