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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A Lucid Moment


When I started this poem I intended to examine the frustrations of growing old, losing one’s physical abilities and being left with only memories. As I wrote I realised that a far greater tragedy would be to know that you are losing those memories. I hope you like the poem;

A Lucid Moment

I never thought I'd live so long,
I didn't really plan to
I lived my life at full speed
taking risks I aught not to.

I jumped from planes
and scaled tall cliffs
I dived beneath the sea
I even stood in foreign lands
while people shot at me.

I climbed tall mountains
crossed deserts wide,
and forded rivers deep.
I hacked a path through jungles
where scary critters creep.

I loved once
with burning fire
but sickness took my heart’s desire
and I was left to live alone
with a broken heart, turned to stone.

Yes,
I planned to be a candle bright
to live life short and sweet.
but now I have the tee-shirt
life ain't half as neat.

I had a young man’s mind
In an old man’s frame
I wanted to play;
Not remember the game.

Yet now life’s dealt its cruellest blow
It stole memories formed long ago
and left me alone to sit and stare,
a frail old man
in a green armchair.

John Carré Buchanan
16 September 2015




This poem is linked to Poets United.

36 comments:

  1. Nice one, John. Some good lines in there but none better, in my opinion, than: I wanted to play/ not remember the game. A poem many of us can identify with.

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    1. Richard, Thanks for your kind comment. The concept behind that line underpins a poem I have written recently and plan to publish on the blog as soon as I can find the right words to introduce it. It stems from a doctor telling me that as a 50 year old I needed to stop trying to do young people's stuff (like living). It is a theme that has really annoyed and inspired me recently.

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  2. But at least you have the memories - a great poem I enjoyed remembering with you

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    1. Hi Jae Rose, actually no, the whole point of the poem is that the speaker is losing his memories! Thanks for your comment though.

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  3. To lose memories is a terrible thing.. they are supposed to be your insurance in the winter of your life. Maybe the relationships we nourish will come and hold our hands then, even if we have no idea why they're doing it.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Thotpurge. It must be truly horrible, I hope You are right about the relationships and comfort of friends and family.

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  4. The worst memory loss is in not remembering family and friends and realizing that the sufferer's mind is almost empty.

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    1. Hi Old Egg, Thanks for your comment, perhaps worse is the victim realising the loss.

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  5. Wow. Exactly! My grandmother said--as she approached 102 years of age--that she wasn't bored with the long days, She had her memories. And as she told them over and over, clearly they changed, and short term memory couldn't keep up. And then, and then. I wonder if she had as much pain from the loss as I did? (I just saw an interesting if somewhat cerebral film on this topic: "Marjorie Prime.")

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    Replies
    1. Hi Susan, Thank you for your comment. 102 years old wow that is impressive. It must have been very difficult struggling to remember and also watching someone you love struggling. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. "but now I have the tee-shirt
    life ain't half as neat"

    Wear that tee shirt dear John, right on

    Much love...

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  7. The saddest part of life is when memories are stolen. Love that candle portion: Wishing life to be sweet, bright and not very long.

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    1. Hi Sumana, thanks for your kind comment. I am glad you liked the poem.

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  8. Your last stanza is the knee jerk for me, but for now us lucky ones should continue to count blessings, whatever they may be to each and every one. Good read here, John.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Julian, thanks for your kind comment. Looking forward to the next open mic and hearing what you have in store.

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  9. Very sad, when one loses one's memory, which is the treasure of the old. Well expressed, John!

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  10. I loved once
    with burning fire
    but sickness took my heart’s desire
    and I was left to live alone
    with a broken heart, turned to stone.

    Oh this tears at my heart.. Well penned.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sanaa, Thank you for your kind comment, I am glad you liked the poem.

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  11. A touching portrayal of what it must be to lose one's memory. Sadly, I watched it happen to my mother. As for that doctor ... spit in his eye! At 50, you're young enough to leap from tall buildings in a single bound! Go for it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Indybev, thank you for your kind comment. I'm glad you liked the poem.

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  12. I don't even want to imagine what my life would be like without the rich storehouse of memories that I possess.

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    1. Hi Magical Mystical Teacher, thanks for your comment, I must admit; neither do I.

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  13. Wow very powerful especially these last lines. I tend to forget things more and more but my long term memory seems to be ok....still
    Still lots of great memories left I see. You have really lived. There are not many who can say that. What an adventures life it is almost like a movie.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marja, thanks for your comment. I guess the first part of the poem is autobiographical to a point but it was not actually intended to be, rather it is a comment based on the fact that so many people who suffer like this have lived extraordinary lives.

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  14. I listened to your beautiful reading of this sad poem. I lost my mother two years ago to dementia. The nurses kept reassuring me that the people who watched the deterioration were far more hurt than the patient. Go out and enjoy your life.

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    1. Hi Sara, thank you for your kind comment, dementia affects so many and is such a tragedy, I can only pray that my memories will not be lost in this cruel way.

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  15. Cruelest of all. (the ending) Yet, I believe, memories live on in others.

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    1. Hi Martin, you are right they do. I just hope that should this ever happen to me there will be people who have shared my life who are willing to share the memories. A sentiment Thotpurge mentioned earlier.

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  16. Oh, John, this is a poignant poem. So far, on this theme, your poem is the one that touches me the most. I don't think when people are young they plan to live so long, but as they age I don't think many are ready to die. Having a young person's brain in an old person's frame is a definite curse though. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think of my age as I feel SOOOOO much younger inside. The last stanza is sad. If one does not have one's memories, what is life??? I know a friend whose husband has Alzheimers. Really sad to live without memories. I hope to be spared that fate. Sigh. I have really enjoyed your poetry!

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    1. Hi Mary, Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I am really glad that you are enjoying my poems.

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  17. My dear neighbor has very quickly lost most memories. I steel myself when I visit because someday she won't remember me either. A friend said the hardest part is when (as you know) you know that you can't remember. I'm with you. I don't think I want to live that long.

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    1. HI Sarah, Thank you for your comment, Hopefully they will find a cure on dat.

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  18. Beautifully written, inspirational and sad at the same time, John. Arghh...wonder, what should we do about this troublesome mental function?

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    1. Hi Panchali, Many thanks for your kind comment, I am glad you liked the poem. As to "what should we do?" - I guess keep writing our memories down.

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I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.