Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 19 May 2020

Two new poems from Anthony Tricker

Anthony Tricker was born December 1930 in Coventry and witnessed the Coventry blitz from an air-raid shelter in Leamington Spa. At 16 he was apprenticed in the telephone industry, subsequently qualifying as an electrical engineer, working mostly in telecoms. Ongoing work took him, along with his family, to West Berlin for nine months in 1970. He also helped write the industry’s semiconductor standards for the British Standards Institute.This took him regularly to international meetings held worldwide.

Retiring from full time work at 65, Anthony continued to work, mostly from home, for BSI until he was 84. He also volunteered for many years with the Enfield and Cheshunt League of Hospital Friends, and he put his engineering and problem-solving skills to good use with Remap, a national charity that custom-makes equipment to help disabled people live more independent lives.

The first of the poems that follow is a reflection on the ageing process as seen from the perspective of Anthony’s mother Constance, then aged 95. The second is contemporary and, as he himself approaches his ninetieth birthday, is his entry to a competition run at the sheltered housing complex where he now lives, about his experiences of the Covid 19 lockdown.

 

THE LADY WHO HAS NOT

(with apologies to Tennyson)

 

On either side the road they lie

The houses of the folk nearby,

Who daily venture forth and try

To earn the wage which they live by,

But close by there’s a spot

Where’s four grey walls, (but no grey towers)

Overlook a space of flowers.

Within a silent room embowers

A Lady, left to rot.

 

It’s not that she is starving there,

She’s warm and fed, the staff all care,

But dignity of life is where

You’re independent and aware

Of everything you’ve got.

Not what you’ve lost; the failing sight,

The health that once was yours by right.

Unsteady legs add to her plight.

The Lady’s lost a lot.

 

In years gone by, she lived her life

A caring and devoted wife,

But now she’s widowed, pain is rife,

She only longs to end her strife,

To leave this earthly plot.

But death does not appointments keep:

One can’t pre-book the great long sleep,

So she endures discomforts deep:

The Lady has a lot.

 

Her memories go; that mirror clear

Reminding her through all the year

Of how the world did once appear

Is dim, and so today’s more drear.

She waits for God knows what.

Is it too much for her to crave,

The quiet that comes from in the grave?

The chosen have departed,

Save this Lady, who has not.

 

The one thing that she knew with pride

Was; for her children she’d provide

They’d get her money when she died;

She had some property besides,

But that’s all gone to pot.

She lives, and so the money’s spent

In paying for her keep and rent

She wonders sadly where pride went;

The Lady hasn’t got.

 

She’s little left, but cannot die.

And no one is allowed to try

To help her from her misery.

Yet oft she’s raised a mournful cry:

“The powers that be should not

Insist that it’s against the law.”

If offered would she take it or

Postpone it for a week or more?

She’d wait, as like as not.

 

 

STAYING AT HOME

 

Life presents a dismal picture,

Dark and dreary as a tomb.

I have been incarcerated.

Asked to stay within my room.

 

I suppose it could be better,

But I’m getting used to it.

When I’m tired of what I’m doing,

I just close my eyes and sit.

 

It’s not good: I should be walking

Exercise is good for me

But the daily walk’s an effort

Walking past that same old tree.

 

I must never get downhearted,

I must not be put-about.

Maybe one day when all’s ended

They will come and let me out.

 

By then I fear I’ll be decrepit

I’ll not want to go and see

Much preferred would be an ending

Just a peaceful RIP.

 

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