Making a Difference

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Her gray hair that once flowed around her shoulders
Now pulled back tightly held with a stretch band;
There she sat in her wheelchair // her gaunt body fading
Wrapped in her shawl // holding her little doll on her lap.
As I read stories to the group of elderly residents
She sat with her head down // eyes closed as though asleep;
Yet somehow, I knew she is still listening to me.
I finished, and got out my twelve-string ovation guitar;
They enjoyed singing my old classics from the sixties…
A time when we all were young, and words sung told stories.
As I began to sing, “You are my sunshine…” her head began to move
Others joined in letting the song take them to another place and time.
Thought her body remained motionless, her feet now began to move;
Her soft pink slippers began a rhythmic pattern as she relived the days
When she danced, carefree to the music, with the one she loved.
Clutching her dolly, her eyes went from open to closed and open again
She rode the rhythms of each song in her mind, as feet danced
Pushing her wheelchair back to her unit she quietly said to me,
“I really enjoy that.”
It was then I knew I was making a difference!

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Anmol, at d’Verse, asked us to write a poem that uses description of a person that paints a picture of that person for the reader. I decided to write about one of the elderly persons who comes to hear my stories and songs at the local nursing home.

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37 thoughts on “Making a Difference

  1. Very well drawn portrait of how the heart never stops smiling in sunshine. Feels, do your stuff. I had a 12 string Epiphone in high school, was the substitute organist with it in my father’s church, bitch to tune and kept breaking strings in the middle of what we called “people’s hymns” back then — folk Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! I also had a 12 Yamaha that would not stay in tune. The ovation rarely loses tuning. It is a gem. With the new electronic tuners it is now very easy to keep them tuned without breaking those thin strings.
      I appreciate your comments


  2. This is wonderful Dwight how rewarding it is to share especially to the aged, who often live cloistered and removed from the daily flow of life. My mother-in-law and I speak long distance from time to time when she is with her friends. They enjoy when I read my poetry to them. It brings me much joy and satisfaction. This is a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How lovely! It is such a sweet rendering — I like how you unfold the scene as you go on with your storytelling and singing. There’s something so charming about it. I loved this bit and the specific picture it paints: “Clutching her dolly, her eyes went from open to closed and open again”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so evocative and such a lesson in caretaking – how important it is to think of simple familiar ways that by-pass failing intellect and let the body remember, renewing pleasure. I can’t thank you enough for your words and deeds.


    • I started this after my Father in law got Alzheimer’s several years ago.. When we visited him he would sing with the residents and remember words to songs. He liked my stories as well. So when I got back home I thought I might do the same with our local rest home residents. The really enjoy when I come. It is very rewarding to connect in this way.


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