Sunday, July 5, 2009

Whose Hands Are These?

"The stranger" is this week's prompt, courtesy of Beth Patterson.. Thank you, Beth and all who spin words into beauty out of the great silence at One Single Impression.

This poem is for Cecilia, my mother in law, braver than any person I know. How does she do it, daily face these terrible losses with the innocence and clarity of a child? Cecilia was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven years ago. It is my honor and deep joy to be by her side as she navigates uncharted waters by the sextant of stars.

I was his student
it was raining
he drove me home
but we got lost in time.

Whose hands are these?

whose hands are these ?
so coarsely veined
fingers floating on a lost melody
“you were only coming through in with”
I see her leaving
and can only imagine
she dives into curls of smoke
surfing the ruins
searching the word for absence
she returns with a handful of gravel
shiny schist broken from a great mountain
as we sit I can see
each breath a separate pearl
on the fluttering wings of the moment.

Aside from myself, there are no signs of me.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, emotional poem.. very, very beautiful... sort of portrays a whole saga.. Loved it!

Fledgling Poet said...

This is incredibly heartfelt and beautiful...I loved it. Thank you for sharing such a deeply felt poem.

floreta said...

wow, this has wonderful meaning!

Luther James Spells said...

Another heart warming escape for me. I thank you for your moving work!

anthonynorth said...

Deep and beautiful. And I loved that last line.

Sue said...

this speaks deeply to me -- my mother has moderate Alzheimers, and this could easily be written of her as well.

SandyCarlson said...

These lines are utterly beautiful:

whose hands are these ?
so coarsely veined
fingers floating on a lost melody

Thanks for this poem.

Jim said...

Gabrielle, you have written a beautiful tribute to a lady who is having a tough time in her later years.

Adi, my beagle dog [paste this link: ]
and I visit an assisted living home every other week or so. Adi and the resident both enjoy these visits very much.
One wing of the home is for persons with Alzheimer's disease. Those people like her visits, probably the most of all residents. They tell me of dogs in their past life, how pretty a dog Adi is, and we just have some good conversations in general.
Most disheartening to me are those who lose their train of thought in the middle of a sentence. Come to think of it, I do that now.

Jim said...

Forgot to comment on your prologue verse. I was a college professor for 22 years and have a few 'almost crushes' on some students.
My rule was never, never, be alone with any of them--leave the office door open for their office visits--not even to take one home if she were stranded at the college. I might pay for cab fare if necessary.

I do know being lost in time when with other non-students.

the walking man said...

Loved the verse.

Yet I wonder if the new world for the Alzheimer's affected person is as terrible a lace for them as it is for those of us stuck here in the now.

Anonymous said...

It seems you have such a keen insight into someone who has lost herself in the tangle of memories. She's lucky to have a guide who can't paint the experience with such beauty and compassion.

Anonymous said...

well written... wonderful, flowing, direct dil se(meaning from the heart in hindi!)

loved this poem gabrielle, thank u for sharing! very beautiful.

Raven said...

Exquisite... as always. My mother had dementia at the end of her life. It's so wonderful that you can see and express the beauty inside the pain and loss.

Tumblewords: said...

Stunning piece - touching and exquisitely written.

Jeeves said...

Wonderful poem...

Patti said...

This is beautiful- lots of layers to it...nice interpretation of the prompt

Anonymous said...

Simply beautiful. Thanks for posting your work.

Patois said...

How beautiful and how painful. That you can be a witness is truly a tough blessing.

Pearl said...

yes, a stranger to oneself if a powerful shape of stranger. and those veins do pop up more each year.

Vesper de Vil said...

i LOVE your comment on Floreta's blog! ...regarding The Stranger

Christopher said...

Thank you – that was beautiful and heartbreaking. Even at this stage, she posses an extraordinary sense of how to not only survive, but at times, soar. She is like no one else I’ve ever met.

sarah haliwell said...

oh wow, beautiful. You took my breath away with that last line.

Many blessings to your mother in law.

Anonymous said...

so beautifully capture words...

sometimes it surprises me how wonderful words can be..

Irene Toh said...

Wonderfully sensitive..

zoya gautam said...

with warm regards & love to your mother in law

and many thanks for ur poignant words ..

Jane Doe said...

A beautiful, surreal poem. Very emotional. I loved the entire piece but the beginning and end are particularly strong. Great writing!

DeLi said...

so poignant