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Alice - A Poem

Updated on September 12, 2013

This poem is inspired by PHILLYDREAMER's weekly poetry challenge "The Faces of Death".

This is the second in my series of three poems showing three very different faces of death, from my experiences of working with the elderly living in care.

This poem is about Alice, one of the few ladies in the care home who reached the grand old age of 100 years old! We threw her a huge party for the occasion, and then a few weeks later she died. Alice was an amazingly strong lady with a good heart, a wicked sense of humour and a tongue that would bite if she thought you were being foolish.

Being from "Up North" (which is how people from southern England describe anyone who is born and raised North of the Midlands) her humour was sometimes misunderstood, but I got it!

Source

ALICE


Alice!

Where do I start?

Northern lady with a huge heart,

A smile that would brighten any room

And a tongue so cutting

You would soon

Know

If you had been a fool.



Alice,

A century upon this Earth!

100 years since her birth,

I told her that she would receive

A telegram from the queen.

"I'd wipe me arse with it" she said

And shocked, I laughed

But inside a dread

Of something else I seemed to know

From signs I'd seen months ago.


Alice,

Truly was my friend,

We'd chat and laugh

Till evenings end

And she'd go to bed

With a whiskey mac

But a change I saw,

There'd be no turning back.


As others who had come before,

She heard the voices

She did adore.

She would sit and chat when all alone

But she could see what was going on.

It was like

she

was only

Half

In our world

See?


The friends she had

Invisible to all

The doc said

Hallucinations

Sometimes crawl

Into peoples lives

Towards the end.

But I knew better

Alice

My friend.


Some people are afraid of them,

Not realising they are their friends,

Come to comfort

And show the way,

As they approach their dying day.

Alice knew

It's what she'd say

If you asked her

How are you today?


Alice

Her birthday party was a scream,

But Alice

She was in a dream

For Deaths whisper

At her door

Was calling her,

She was just waiting for

This day to end

To live this long

She could contend

With a little longer on this Earth

To please her loved ones

And friends from "Up North"


Then the day did come

When Alice said

My time is done!

The crazy power of the mind

To end it all

When it's time.

She went to sleep her

Final rest,

And peacefully

(She deserved the best)

Alice

Left this mortal coil

As easily as we might boil

A kettle

For the tea she loved


Her time had come

To look above.



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    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      tobusiness, I remember replying to you, but it hasn't appeared here in the comments so it must have got lost in my poor dongle internet connection! In which case I apologise for my late reply! Thank you for your kind words, and I'm so glad my poem shows what an amazing lady Alice was! All the best from the riverbank, Jen

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you Patty! Alice was an amazing woman who was incredibly strong throughout her life. I'm glad I've done her justice! All the best, Jen

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      6 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Awesome Job Jennifer!!! You truly captured an essence of this woman and what she offered the world...whether others realized what she had to offer or not!! Excellent Job!!!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Sweet, cranky Alice, a wonderful character. They certainly don't make them like that anymore, your love for Alice shines like a beacon in every word, a beautiful tribute to an old friend, may she rest easy.

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Epi, your support and feedback give me so much confidence and inspire me to write! Thank you! Phillydreamers topics give me a chance to challenge myself when I have a mind to... :-) Jen

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      6 years ago

      ..you bring grace to your writing - and that is a gift.

      lake erie time 1:18am love this series and kudos to the Philly dreamer too

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Jean, you've understood exactly what I was trying to get at in this poem, thank you!

      I bet the 102 year old still gets her hair done too... :-) Brilliant! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, all the best, Jen

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Another beauty of a poem, so perceptive. I have been with family members who insist they "see" the ones they loved that died before, and I believe they do come to help show the way. There is a local woman who lives in a home near me, she is 102. She still has her nails done every 2 weeks, in really bright colors! The fact she keeps doing that makes all of us smile.

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Lol, Debbie, I had actually noticed it, and bookmarked it to read later! :-) (busy with all sorts at mo...) Thanks, Jen

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I just realized I wrote a poem about someone named Alice.. it is a fairy tale.. Love your poem..

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      You're right. First off, the news only reports supressive, obsessive, repulsive, offensive news. They never report the good things that go on in this crazy world!

      Secondly, you're right. Our elderly have sooooooooo many stories to tell! And they're of simpler times, with morals and respectful ways of living; not like today!

      You bring up a good point! Thank you for that!

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Bravewarrior, I think it's always the bad homes that get all the press, no-one ever writes in the papers or makes a TV programme about the good ones! The great thing about hanging out with the elderly is that they've all led such varied and fantastic (long) lives, there's always stuff to chat about! And I love a good chat... :-) Thanks again bravewarrior, all the best, Jen

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      It's heartwarming to know some caregivers in this world actually CARE for our elderly loved ones. Here, in America, we hear of too many stories of abuse in homes for the elderly. Abuse and worst of all, neglect, which is probably the worst form of abuse.

      Again, God bless you, Jen!

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      She was PHILLYDREAMER, she even had a whiskey every night before bed, and lived a life that could only be admired... Thanks for commenting! Jen

    • PHILLYDREAMER profile image

      Jose Velasquez 

      6 years ago from Lodi, New Jersey

      I like stories of how people welcome Death, and walk with him on an even level. Alice sounded like a very strong woman.

    • Jennifer Stone profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Thank you Debbie.. I'm a little out of my comfort zone here so really appreciate your feedback! Jen

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      This poem is just as beautiful. As ruby...your work speaks for it self...blessings to to you..debbie

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