A wet December day, dark with dusk.
A ring of armchairs rimmed the room;
carol sheets stirred like sleepy butterflies,
nestling in the laps between the wrinkled hands.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night
One by one the carols came.
Crotchets and quavers filled the air like festive snow,
settling in the snow-white hair as voices,
bass with age, sang songs of ancient joys.
Away in a manger
In a gap between the songs I heard a sob.
"He can't have gone" she said, shaking her head in disbelief.
"He'd never leave me here alone".
"He's back tomorrow love" they said but
though the arms were quick to hold and
voices gentle to assure
nothing could be said or done
to mitigate this moment
of fearful lucidity.
Oh come all ye faithful
She was not his wife the way she used to be.
On good days she'd remember him and cry when he left.
On other days she'd not know who he was.
In the bleak midwinter
(c) A McN
Labels: Carols, Christmas, dementia