The poem that I ask going to submit is the.first submission in this modern Format. I am returning to the forum after an absence of at least ten years.
My poem is true: It is about my grandtather, who was born in 1870 and died in 1958. He had Parkinson’s while still a relatively young man, although his death certificate stated the cause of his death was Paraplegia. There was scant knowledge of the condition in those days, and no medication: Sinemet was not available until the1960s.
So, I grew up seeing the suffering of my grandfather during the last 15 years of his life, and it is my memories of him that I would like to share with you.
MY GRANDPA - DAN DAVIES 1875 - 1958
Every day the same for him, each and every day
was in doing nothing, just existing. In his way
he was contented, at least, it appeared so to me:
he never moaned, even though his body was bent perpetually.
I grew up becoming used to seeing him in his chair,
whenever I went to his home, he was always sitting there.
His chair gave him no comfort, it was made of wood: and here
he sat for hours, each day, each week, each month, each year.
His movements were so slow, so laboured; he could not proceed
At more than snail pace, as he had to cling to rails. Indeed,
his struggle to the bathroom took him more than half an hour,
but he always managed by himself, so strong was his will-power.
He often spent his days alone: my grandmother couldn’t cope
with being in the house with him. She left him with the hope
that he’d manage to get-by for hours until she would return.
I wonder now, how did he feel? Did he for company yearn?
On the hob beside him, before she left, she’d leave a pot of tea,
a cup and saucer, milk and sugar, cheese and bread, and he
would spend the day, just sitting there, there was nothing else to do,
except read the Daily Herald; and he had his wireless, too.
The programmes that he listened to on the BBC Home Service,
weren’t easy to tune-in, causing me to feel quite nervous
as he’d twiddle with the knobs until the hissing sounds abated.
Then with pipe in hand, he’d sit and listen, seemingly elated.
He rarely had a visitor, for they would find it hard,
to have a conversation; for not only was he scarred
in movement, he could not produce a single word.
The noises which he made were grunts, embarrassment this stirred.
I sometimes had some friends with me, when I took to him his food.
Some would stand and stare, making comments that were rude.
They tried to stifle laughter as he struggled to eat his meal
Before the food fell off his fork: then he showed frustration real.
Today, this wouldn’t happen, but this happened long ago.
When there was no medication to release him from his woe.
In nineteen fifty-eight he died; his life was so unfair.
I will never forget my grandpa, sitting, always in his chair.
My grandfather, born in the Victorian Era, was a Welsh Miner, whose intelligence was not stimulated: he could barely read!
But, he was to be a source of help to me. Seeing how well he coped with the horrific effects of Parkinsons, without any medication or medical specialists, enabled me to cope with it when in 1988 I received the diagnosis that I was to follow in his footsteps.
My consultant and Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse have given me great care and advice, over a very long period, for which I am truly grateful.
I think that, at the present time, we should include the Doctors and Nurses who run the Parkinson’s clinics in the list of NHS workers who currently are giving their all for the publlc at large.