"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Posts tagged “Old Age

Facing The Future

 

Old age and poverty: uneasy bedfellows.
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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Keeping Your Head Down

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Picture taken in Cochin.


Tea And Time With Auntie

And now two months have passed:
Then she sat in convalescence;
I, about to fly.

Medicines, oils and remedies still line the shelves.

Family gifts, time, photographs:
Her silent companions for the evening soaps.
All gaze quietly down,
Idly wondering when last she left the house.

Books, her bible, pills and lotions,
These have proved her daytime friends and props,
To fill the hours when serials take their sleep. 

Support surrounds her.
She is safe to field her troops:
Competence and authority unquestioned. 

Her arguments for independent living.
Like chess pieces
Carefully placed upon a board.
Expertly drilled,
Rehearsed,
Almost word-perfect:
Conversations marshalled as military manoeuvres,
White Queen swoops,
Her castle defended:

“Did your finger leave that piece, Auntie?”
“I think not.”
Challenge,
If you dare…

We take our tea,
Discuss our aches and pains.
Families.
A granddaughter’s immanent stay.
My travels.
Recite once more the mantra of the middle-class:
The importance of good staff;
Their scarcity.


My lame jokes elicit a young woman’s laughter.
Our generations have met and flirted.
My houseboy and the driver are summoned,
Fed, while deftly probed.
Then both dismissed
To wait outside,
Wait,
In their proper place,
Shaded,
Out on the verandah.

They can sit,
And wait,
As she must.

And now once more it’s time to leave. 

Alone again,
My aunt will sit and coach her armies,
Wait,
And recuperate.
While, once more, I fly.

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The Passing Of Years

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“I am weary of days and hours,

Blown buds of barren flowers,

Desires and dreams and powers

And everything but sleep.”

A.C.Swinburne (1837-1909)

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Photograph taken on the streets of Fort Cochin. The man was begging for alms in the heat of the midday sun.