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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


Copyright © | Year Posted 2009

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Date: 11/29/2019 6:54:00 PM
This is so true but sad. A wise wake up call. We are all getting old. People don't think about their neighbors anymore. Me, I know everyone of mine. I try to be helpful when ever needed. If more people thought about other people rather than themselves no one would be eating cat food or alone.
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Date: 7/15/2019 12:26:00 AM
A sadly incredible, real story, every day. Excellent read. Ann
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 7/20/2019 9:30:00 AM
Whether we like it or not, these issues are ones we will all face one day. Thanks for reading, Ann.
Date: 1/31/2019 8:21:00 PM
G'day Carolyn … very sad story indeed Carolyn. You got me musing. What is the worst. Loneliness or death - this poem really did have me wondering about societies attitude - thank you Carolyn - Lindsay
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 1/31/2019 8:27:00 PM
You can see how your poem and this one are related, Lindsay. Instead of asking, "What are we going to do about Mom?" we should be asking, "What can we do to make Mom happy?" Surround her with love. Thanks for reading.
Date: 1/18/2019 6:28:00 PM
Well, I have to say I am completely over whelmed! I had no idea there were any poems out there with 8 pages of comments! You are like a goddess of poetry! I'm totally amazed and humbled that you bothered to read some of my ramblings. Amazing write of course and a FAV for me. Makes me want to cry to tell the truth, but if not to stir emotions what else is poetry for?? Well done and I will be committing a lot of time rummaging through you poetic "attic" for gems! An admirer...................pat
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 1/18/2019 8:13:00 PM
When we see this happening to seniors, we know it may be our fate too. It is so easy to reach out and offer companionship to them and listen to their stories. It was as if no one noticed when Annie died, but she was my neighbor and I miss her.
Date: 12/14/2018 9:46:00 PM
Another well written tear jerker, no wonder it's in the top ten of all time, shed a tear over her!
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 12/14/2018 9:55:00 PM
She was my neighbor for a couple years long ago. She let me inside her home because her cat liked me. Annie was afraid of most people. It seemed as though everyone had abandoned her. Her memory will always be with me. Thanks for reading, John
Date: 5/15/2017 3:04:00 PM
I had a lump in my throat after reading this poem. What a crime that this poor woman endured. So sad!! No one should have to live like she did :(
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Date: 3/24/2017 7:31:00 PM
A powerfully sad write Carolyn..
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Date: 7/24/2016 5:10:00 AM
I think you just ripped my heart out! Exquisite! Sounds like a true story too. I am glad I found you
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 9/14/2016 12:07:00 PM
I have been off the site for a while. Thank you for reading this poem, Jannie. This is a true story. Annie Lesley lived next door to me in Ormond Beach, FL. She had no family to look in on her, but she allowed me to visit because her cat Tibby was friendly toward me. I'll never forget her.
Date: 7/19/2016 12:11:00 PM
"Beautifully" told . . . : )
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Date: 5/9/2016 12:28:00 AM
Sad but brilliant rhyme with rich detail.
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Date: 4/13/2016 1:51:00 PM
A beautiful, sad read. Well done.
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Date: 2/1/2016 8:41:00 PM
A real tear-jerker. Beautiful pen. May I share this Carolyn?
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Date: 12/30/2015 7:09:00 AM
Such a sad piece, and sad reflection of our societies, for white Australia, and New Zealand is no different. My work with elderly Australasians repeat this over and over again. But so many of them don't want it any other way??? We can only do for our parents what we can. Awesome entry into the top few of the best 100. Well done.
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Date: 12/17/2015 7:24:00 PM
'Self and my Pelf' is how people live today. Very nice and sad poem.
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Date: 10/1/2015 2:51:00 PM
Wisdom untapped......... you wrote it beautifully.. very heart touching.
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Date: 7/25/2015 7:21:00 PM
Too many people forget what the seniors have gone through, what knowledge the have to share, and their true resilience in life. Nice to see that someone remembers.
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Date: 6/22/2015 12:52:00 PM
Dearest Carolyn, I have visited your poem many times before I could form a comment. The truth is your poem literally brought me to tears. I am studying for my MS in Gerontology, your verse could be used alone to educate the masses. I am still pretty much agape and speechless of your piece, yet I know it must reach farther than poetrysoup. With all due respect, jill :.)
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Date: 1/30/2015 12:55:00 AM
Excellent poem and very sad and true. It's such a shame that we treat our precious seniors in this way.
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Date: 1/7/2015 2:00:00 PM
Who could believe this could happen to any elderly. It breaks my heart. Thank God I am here to look after my mother.
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Date: 12/8/2014 6:24:00 PM
Thanks for writing a poem so relevant. ~Joel
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Date: 10/7/2014 3:11:00 PM
Excellent write Carol! I love this piece you did wonderful bring awareness to this very important and sad subject about the elderly and what's so shamefully is taking place in so many countries and places around the globe. The elderly are just disposed of just like a piece of old rags and ignored and sent away .They need more our love and caring as the grow older. Love and hugs! Have a lovely week ahead! ;)xxxx D.
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Date: 8/28/2014 7:15:00 AM
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Date: 8/20/2014 5:58:00 AM
A great write. congrats on the win, Carolyn
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Date: 8/19/2014 9:14:00 PM
This is a sympathetic poem showing your thoughtfulness of others. Congratulations on your win. Please add Brian to your prayer list. I have watched him grow up into a fine young man and cannot bear to think of losing him. He has been unconscious for more than a week and has shown no sign of waking.. Love, Joyce
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 8/20/2014 12:49:00 AM
Joyce, I will ask some of my friends to pray for Brian as well.
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Carolyn Devonshire
Date: 8/20/2014 12:44:00 AM
Of course I will pray with you, Joyce. God bless you for your concern for others! Love, Carolyn
Date: 8/19/2014 9:08:00 PM
I found your poem just now and was about to read it, when I noticed that the time was exactly 7 pm. At 7 pm on Tuesday, we members of our Lutheran church stop what ever we are doing to pray for others. Tonight we are focusing on a nineteen year old fine young man from good home who is lying helpless in a hospital room after hitting his head in a fall. All we can do is wait and pray.
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