MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! ! Dementia Remembered

Before dementia, with its cruel mercy

freed her from those golden bonds

of obligations and relationships

(the chilling question, and so carefully expressed

during the morning wash and powdering,

‘are we… related…?)

she’d carefully destroyed

all the photos of her family;

while leaving all her husband’s…

what did that mean, to that so loving daughter…?

What shames can those who love, so cherish

as some further goad?

But she forgot, now that she slept downstairs

the photo of the grandfather whom I never met

(he died too early, of dread ‘cotton lung’):

flat, at the bottom of her dressing-table drawer..

he in full Freemason’s aproned proud regalia

of Hope Lodge nearby Hope Street; nearby hope…

So now, he, on the wardrobe top

and I flat on the bed

gaze at each other in unshaped relationship

with our two views of her; so totally at odds;

except, except, for love;

she, immortal like that holy Maid herself,

girl-mother in our shared sweet thoughts;

out of mind but never out of mind.

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