When I should die
think only this of me:
That I lived, my life was full;
That I loved wholeheartedly, and was loved in return;
That I suffered, yet many bore worse;
That I was blessed, in oh so many ways
from my birth until the ending of my days;
That I had regrets but would change nothing, given that chance,
for to do so would mean also losing good along with the bad;
That I made enemies
yet found the peace of forgiving;
and through it all,
I found the joy of living!
Sept 15th 2016
the barren beauty beckoned,
in his innocence,
rose to the challenge.
In magical moment,
thrust far from the earth
above swirling clouds
and raging wind,
he walked with God,
on the face of the moon.
Yet, some thirty years hence,
the wonderment remains;
The man in the moon
still sleeps alone
in the night sky.
Rose Dempsey July 1999
This poem "wrote itself" one night in 2001, as I sat at my computer and I realised later it was about an older woman, maybe suffering from Alzheimer's or paralyzed by a stroke, from the view of a caregiver.
When I look into your eyes
I see the pain from deep within,
the confusion and inner turmoil
of an active mind
in a body which frustrates it.
I catch glimpses of an earlier twinkle,
when life was good
and your manner gay;
now, in the twilight of your life,
the copper hair is silvered
and a mist falls over your eyes.
Where is the young girl who ran on the clifftops,
paddled in oceans, picked shells on the shore?
Where is the maiden who courted the young man,
resplendent in uniform, bound for the war?
He who returned to her, shell-shocked and wizened,
who took her to wife, and whose children she bore?
And where is she, that mother, who gave birth to two children,
but whose love had no boundaries, and who craved even more?
She is here, in your mind,
in the pictures that play there,
the memories of all that you've seen and you've done,
and I see her sometimes, in the looks that you give me,
with your mind ever active, and the body you shun.
I feel for your sadness, your independence long taken,
and wish I could grant you, strong limbs, straight and true .
But all I can offer, is respect and assistance
in this twilight existence, I'll stand beside you.
Rummaging through old papers, photographs and things,
one often picks up something that tugs at heart's old strings;
A memory comes unbidden,
to block all else from view, refusing to go quietly - the decent thing to do;
and so, it pervades the soul until
acknowledge it we must.
We sit among those memories, amid the fluff of dust.
We find a scrap of paper, illegible to some,
but we remember what it was, and what it did become;
We see the person who we were
those days so long ago,
thinking that we owned the world, not yet knowing it wasn't so.
Though tears may prick as thoughts
replay the theatre of our minds,
yet deeper still we let them seep, of days long left behind.
It seem time has passed so quickly,
so many years, so many woes,
amid the toils and troubles of
the pathways that we chose.
Regrets of wrongs not righted,
of opportunities passed by,
accolades for achievements
satisfying to the eye.
So, here we sit and rummage,
with teary cheek and aching soul,
wondering how it came to this.
How did we get so old?
Momentarily back in youthful mind,
we reminisce of times long past,
yet knowing to this present time
we must return, at last.
So, pictures, back in boxes,
photographs - we'll close the book.
We tuck the scraps of paper
into the safety of a nook.
For who knows when our hunger
for the comfort of those years,
will once more bring upon us
the joy of shedding tears.
Rose Dempsey 1998
A poem for my grandson who died just after Thanksgiving in 2000. Written in 2004. The last two lines say it all.
Sometimes your memory just comes to mind
and I wonder how you'd be
if you'd been given a chance to live
to be a man of twenty three.
Maybe you'd be married
have a son to call your own,
drive a truck, maybe fly a plane
and we'd chat on the phone.
And you'd tell me all your good times,
I'd commiserate with the bad,
give you a shoulder to lean on,
and listen when you felt sad.
But this is all wishful thinking
as I'll never again see you smile,
only in the pictures
I look at once in a while.
Three years ago you left us,
in fact it's almost four,
sometimes I really miss you
and others, I miss you more.
This poem was written in 1976, for Remembrance Sunday (England's celebration honouring Armistice Day and those who died in "the wars"
Another year has passed us by,
no longer do we weep and cry
seeming endless tears to shed
in honour of heroic dead.
"I knew him well," you hear them say
as memories of those awful days, surface
to vividly haunt once more
the faces of those left behind.
Old men weep remembering comrades
left dead in farthest parts,
young people, too, salute them,
a place found in their hearts.
Wreaths laid on various statues
as regiments file past
let's hope they'll remind all men,
let the Great Wars be the last.
But that is wishful thinking
as men are a violent breed
and there's always one to make war
to satisfy his greed.
It may be greed for power,
or the wealth that it may bring
but based on pain and other's death,
it's not worth anything.
Please spare a thought for those who died in World Wars I and II,
Remember that they gave their lives to build a world for you.