This past week three things reminded me how much poetry matters and that we must never doubt the time we spend with our words.
While I was visiting an Adult Family Home to care for a diabetic patient who had been on my caseload for a long time, a woman I had never met also sat down at the table. She was the daughter of another resident, a new one, who wasn’t on my list. This woman, a stranger, handed me a piece of paper. “You should look at this,” she said. “I read it every day. It’s how I get by.” It was a poem, written in the voice of a person with dementia. The phrases were beautiful and terribly true. It spoke to the heart.
The next day I visited another Adult Family Home. A new caregiver was helping out. The regular aide told her that I was not only a nurse but a poet as well. I shared one of my poems about a caregiver feeding peaches to a confused man. The new caregiver started to cry. “I used to write,” she said. “when I was young. When I could still feel things. I will find those poems and start again.”
My husband, my most ardent supporter, proudly told the other investigators he works with about my new website. Later that day I got an email from one of them. She said she had thought she hated poetry. But she read my poem, “Not My Father’s Arms,” on the website and it made her cry. She said maybe there was something to poetry after all.
Keep writing. You are bringing someone back to life.