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Disposable Wisdom

Carolyn Devonshire Avatar    Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled Disposable Wisdom which was written by poet Carolyn Devonshire. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Disposable Wisdom

Each day Annie Lesley opened a can
Her eighty-six-year-old hands trembling
As she sat with her cat and ate pet food
What is wrong with this elder’s rendering?

Pride swallowed to remain independent
Large, sunken eyes peered from her weathered face
Her late spouse a decorated hero
Annie’s lifestyle a national disgrace

More enlightened cultures all over the world
Have revered their seniors throughout history
Asians and Native Americans
Are just two who honor their ancestry

Polynesians, other Pacific tribes
Respect the wisdom that comes with age
Seniors are welcome in family homes
But here in the states they’re placed in a cage

Bone-thin Annie Lesley chose to be free
Amazing neighbors with her endurance
When social services tried to intervene
She fought with remarkable resilience

Old photos on walls told many great tales
But only purring Tibby was listening
Each morning she rose to care for her cat
Until the day that Tibby went missing

In tears she claimed he must have been poisoned
Though in cat years he was older than she
Each day she sat by the window, staring
Awaiting the homecoming of Tibby

She’d been abandoned by society
Lost in the world’s most “progressive” nation
For sacrificing her spouse in World War II	
Annie received little compensation

This widowed war bride never had children
Her mate had met his fate in Normandy
Posthumous awards she dusted each day
Annie’s life was defined by loyalty

To a man and a cat who never came home
And the vigil she kept all alone
Ended quietly one warm summer night
When an angel came to take Annie home

With a can of cat food in hand when found
Annie had nothing else to eat in her house
This is the way a veteran’s wife died
And tear stains had blemished her faded blouse

Although seniors’ wisdom is heeded
In societies that grow from history
Too many like Annie lead lonely lives
Wisdom untapped, they die in poverty

*Entry for Nathan's "Your Best Poem" contest

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  1. Date: 6/22/2013 9:56:00 PM

    I see why this is on the Top 100 All-Time list. Astounding that you tell such an awful truth of these circumstances.

  1. Date: 5/1/2013 7:27:00 AM

    Such true words. Only here is that done, I wished it otherwise. Your poem honors what we all should.

  1. Date: 11/27/2012 7:47:00 PM

    Oh Seafaress! Don't know how I missed this exceptional poem, telling truths that can't be denied...disheartening and very sad..but it's our reality. Much love to you. P.S. Sent you an e-card today! Thanks for everything!

  1. Date: 11/22/2012 5:28:00 AM

    Brilliant! and gut wrenching truth you have penned here. I think it happens too often every day. It just seems so ironic that it is the nations that claim to be the most civilized where this is a everyday occurrence while the third nation countries seem to do much better in honoring their elders

  1. Date: 11/18/2012 6:54:00 AM

    Wow! That is all I can say. Wow! Most Excellent!

  1. Date: 11/15/2012 7:31:00 AM

    truly an important write! nice to revisit it. light & love

  1. Date: 11/28/2011 6:24:00 AM

    Congratulations on your win in P.D.'s contest Carolyn. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 11/26/2011 1:48:00 PM

    Congratulations on your win. I really enjoyed Reading your poem! Lori

  1. Date: 11/24/2011 10:00:00 AM

    Wow, a powerful message here Carolyn. Too bad it is this way. I visit a nursing home each week just to say hello to those that have been "stored" there and I feel the pain of their loneliness. Thanks for putting this before us.

  1. Date: 11/23/2011 11:40:00 PM

    CAROLYN, ;-) stopping by to wish you and everyone a happy THANKSGIVING! Also to congratulate you in my "any poem goes contest`" Have yourself a wonderful and lovely holiday. God Bless,.. p.d.

  1. Date: 7/25/2011 11:48:00 PM

    Heya Carolyn. I don't want to sound redundant, but I remember being very moved the 1st time I read this poem....and it never seems to lose its edge after another read. Congratulations on your win in Don's contest~!

  1. Date: 7/25/2011 10:00:00 PM

    Yes, I think I remember this one from before.I too entered an oldie Congrats on this very worthwhile poem, Carolyn.

  1. Date: 7/25/2011 10:13:00 AM


  1. Date: 7/25/2011 9:43:00 AM

    Congratulations on your well deserved win in Don's "Old Ballad or Rhyme" contest Carolyn. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 6/11/2011 9:42:00 AM

    Wow, this is such a moving piece, my friend. I've just checked my emails and chuckled about the wigwag - no wonder she was confused : ) It's a good job I got my reading glasses...

  1. Date: 6/4/2011 11:53:00 AM

    How very sad that such priceless sacrifice be met with so much negligence by such an ungrateful generation. I had read this poem before I think and found it just as touching the second time. A beautifully rendered quality work. Love!

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 5:47:00 PM

    Good choice powerful impact! Congrad's Light & Love

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 11:00:00 AM

    So well done Carolyn and reflects your sympathetic heart. I am not a fan of sentences with no periods because some poets aren't consistent but you were, so no marks off. Great writing. Love, Joyce

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 10:34:00 AM

    Congrats on a well deserved win, Carolyn. Awesome piece. Nice going. xxxRalph

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 10:23:00 AM

    A big congratulations on your win Carolyn. I also believe it is one of your best poems. Love, Carol

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 10:22:00 AM

    Congrats on your win in the contest.....George

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 9:01:00 AM

    Super congrats Carolyn of this very moving piece on the plight of senior citizens there-- it is so sad yet this poem is also quite enlightening as to what some are going through-- I guess I am lucky to live in a society where our elders more often than not are taken care by family members in their old age-- hugs :)

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 8:12:00 AM

    Such a heart touching, sad poem, but we do need this reminder of what goes on in our neighborhood every day. So many need our eyes and our help. Such a great job, Carolyn...indeed a best poem! Congratulations

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 7:24:00 AM

    Carolyn, I remember this poem. It is a very hearltfelt one, with an extremely important lesson and words of wisdom for many of us in the 'West' to rethink and ponder about. Congratulations on your 1st place victory in Joyce's contest!~Chris

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 7:16:00 AM

    My dear friend I loved it when I first read it and I love it now.Many warm congrats for this win.

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 5:43:00 AM

    Loved it before, love it now..congrats..hope your week goes well..thinking of you. BG

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 4:30:00 AM

    congrats again on another win with this thought-provoking poem...

  1. Date: 2/28/2011 4:27:00 AM

    enchanting and engrossing, my carols... big HURRAH to you on the wow win! :) huggs

  1. Date: 2/27/2011 11:03:00 PM

    One of your best, which I well recall, CArolyn. A Big congrats for the number one spot! Luv, Andrea

  1. Date: 2/27/2011 11:01:00 PM

    Another fine writing, Carolyn. Congratulations on winning in Joyce's contest with this impressive entry.