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Disposable Wisdom

Carolyn Devonshire Avatar Carolyn Devonshire - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail Go to Poets Blog 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

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  1. Date: 7/13/2014 11:53:00 AM
    Oh lady, congrats on your third place :) hugs xox

  1. Date: 7/13/2014 8:28:00 AM
    carolyn, loneliness of the elderly is an issue in all societies. congrats on this touching write. Mohan

  1. Date: 7/12/2014 9:45:00 PM
    Oh yes, I remember this poem from another time. it was excellent then and it still is now. Congratulations, carolyn on your fine win in Kim's contest. love and hugs, catie :)

  1. Date: 7/12/2014 10:45:00 AM
    This is a great poem, Carolyn...states so well the problem we have in our country. We took care of my mother for over ten years; it is a difficult task at best; with difficult people it can be a killer. This is a problem for which we need answers. Congratulations on a great win.

  1. Date: 7/12/2014 4:50:00 AM
    Ageing loneliness portrayed so well Carolyn! A thotful write indeed ! Thanks for sharing n congrats on big win!

  1. Date: 7/12/2014 4:27:00 AM
    Good day Carolyn! So glad I found this excellent poem on the winners' list, otherwise I would not have known it existed. It's so heart touching! It highlights very well the loneliness that accompanies old age. Congrats on a deserved win. Take care. // paul

  1. Date: 7/11/2014 9:18:00 PM
    Fantastic work here! Congrats Kim

  1. Date: 6/30/2014 4:58:00 AM
    An outstanding write! We should pay more attention to the needs of our Seniors. After all, we'll be lucky to live that long and want the best lifestyle possible.

  1. Date: 6/4/2014 10:01:00 AM
    Carolyn, I've not ever read a more moving account of the plight of our American elderly. The tragedy, of course, is the truth it contains, and the national shame that accompanies it. A marvelous write. Thank you so much for sharing. Jack C

  1. Date: 5/23/2014 10:21:00 PM
    Carolyn, this poem is such a shameful truth. An important story very well told...

  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.