Our 2017 poetry competition continued - special commendation

We received 101 dementia poems in 2017 across three categories – Change, Share and Celebrate – and we’re proud to publish the runners-up here.

Last week we shared the winners of our 2017 poetry competition, as featured in our magazine Living with dementia (now called Dementia Together).

As you enjoyed reading them so much, we’ve decided to share some of the brilliant runner-up entries too!

Set across three categories – Change, Share and Celebrate – the poems take a look at what dementia means to those affected by it.

Featured below are the two entries which received a special commendation from our judging panel. Another thank you to these poets and everyone else who took part.

Category one: Change

Fiona Ritchie Walker's dementia poem

Fiona Ritchie Walker, author of 2pm, sing-along with Kirsten - community lounge

2pm, sing-along with Kirsten – community lounge, by Fiona Ritchie Walker

My sister sings and memories take shape,

forgotten rhythm pulses through old bones,

life sparks again where nothing new will grow,

bypassing protein tangles of the mind.
 

Forgotten rhythm pulses through old bones,

the care home with its treeless view is gone,

bypassing protein tangles of the mind

a foot taps out the thrill of a stiletto.


The care home with its treeless view is gone,

cracked lips croon back to 1950s red,

a foot taps out the thrill of a stiletto,

hands that can’t lift a spoon clap palms together.
 

Cracked lips croon back to 1950s red,

life sparks again where nothing new will grow,

hands that can’t lift a spoon clap palms together,

my sister sings and memories take shape.

Category two: Share

Sue Hansard's dementia poem

Sue Hansard with her mum

Tulips, by Sue Hansard

You reach, warily.

You extend long bony fingers

and delicately

caress the flowers I have brought.
 

Your own mother’s hands

I think, not yours.

Then…

like a flicked switch,

your blank eyes

colour,

and I can almost see

your shrinking brain,

processing the reds and yellows

and the softness against your fingers.

 

I see you

as your features soften

and a smile

transforms and animates you.

For a few garnered moments

we are connected,

mother and daughter

and tulips…

`Beautiful’ you whisper

and I have to agree

…it is !

Subscribe for more

To read more poetry from this year’s competition as well other stories from people affected by dementia, subscribe to our magazine now.

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2 comments

Add your own

"Tulips" has just struck such a chord with me - beautifully written thank you Sue.

Beautifully written , a shared moment or two, but the time approaches when I will have a brain shrunken and my life stopped by such a cruel disease, and I feel perhaps I should cry out loud while I can. It's hard to think ahead, when the black of night where understanding has vanished apart from the odd moments of clarity.
I have a friend dying from incurable cancer, but she can't appreciate that I experience the same fear of not having much time to live ,yet she will possess her mental faculties until the drugs take over her senses and she literally dies.

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