“Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores..”
From The Lotos-Eaters, Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1832.
Picture of edible lotus roots being collected, taken on a visit to the Chellanam backwaters, Kerala.
Tight hands grip the arms of the chair,
as I rise –
My weakness of limb I no longer disguise.
From doctor to patient,
requiring a nursemaid.
At times I look forward to boosting the hearse trade.
Spare me sweet patience,
Your kindness won’t do.
A life in the alms house is not what I choose.
While carers encourage my effort in movement,
The last thing I need is:
“Oh, what an improvement!”
Long term inflammation’s
my unwanted house-guest.
The blood tests are showing stale-mate but not conquest.
Now paid baby-sitters
must stay in my home lest
I fall in the night and am found with my pants messed.
Age and infirmity.
– I squirm and pride fades –
I tried to embrace these unlovely bridesmaids.
My heart is so weary,
my joints are so tired they’d
Welcome release, in the knowledge I’d paid
the debts which fell due in this life,
I will focus my thoughts as I ration my musing.
I have girded my loins and I’ll limit my snoozing.
To stumble, but finish,
cannot be called losing.
“…that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson