He picks at the woodchip

at the bottom of the stairs

Thinking: so what if I die?

Nobody cares


Was it my Christmas jumper

I went up to find?

Or, perhaps, I was looking 

for the rest of my mind ?


He picks at the woodchip

at the bottom of the stairs 

Thinking, so what if I die?

Nobody cares


My carer is due!

…Or has she just been?

I can't quite remember 

when last she was seen


He picks at the woodchip

at the bottom of the stairs 

Thinking, so what if I die?

Nobody cares


She's got a nice file…

I think I mean smile

She's so merry flushed…

I think I mean rushed!


He picks at the woodchip

at the bottom of the stairs 

Thinking, so what if I die?

Nobody cares


My netface! Neckchase! Necklace!

With a button to press!

He taps at his chest

But, there, it no longer rests


He picks at the woodchip

at the bottom of the stairs 

Thinking, so what if I die?

Nobody cares


Tap, tap, tap  tap. Code Morse!

He thinks  back to being a kid

And secret codes used 

To reveal where they hid!


There's no woodchip left to pick 

at the bottom of the stairs

As he remembers the kid

And the people who once cared


But, the people are now leaving 

They slowly walk away

As night time comes too early 

On a bright, fresh winter's day


Tap, tap, tap, ta…


-. --- -... --- -.. -.--  /  -.-. .- .-. . ...  

#Ageconcern #helptheaged

◄ Family Tree

A Christmas Bauble ►


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Stephen Atkinson

Mon 12th Dec 2022 22:26

Thank you Uilleam, & I think you may be right. When I was growing up I called every neighbour Aunty! And we all helped each other. Changing times.
And, Thank you John! Nice to see you're back as well with some of your mind bending & brilliant poetry! I think I was on the up for about a day, now I'm back down lol. But thank you for buying my book, it's very much appreciated. I keep changing the format & grammer slightly, maybe one day i'll get it right 😅 Thanks again 🌈

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Mon 12th Dec 2022 12:47

Hi Stephen, was away from the site for about a year - is good to find you still here upon returning. I enjoyed your elegy for the Queen - and have just bought a copy of your book - so hopefully that will arrive soon - but I just wanted to say it's really good to see you on the rise. John 😎

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Mon 12th Dec 2022 10:52

I suspect that in many cases, what accentuates the anguish of both carers and patients these days, is the physical distance between our families / communities.

There's a saying that "it takes a village to raise a child";
I think that's also true with regard to our senior citizens.

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Stephen Atkinson

Fri 9th Dec 2022 20:38

Thank you Holden, and John, yes my Mam is going through the same. A tragic thing to witness

Holden Moncrieff

Fri 9th Dec 2022 04:47

Really powerful, and written with great sensitivity, Stephen! 🌷

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John Coopey

Wed 7th Dec 2022 21:37

This resonates with our family's experience of my mother-in-law, Stephen, whose brain is rapidly emptying with dementia. (Her, that is, not you!)

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Stephen Atkinson

Tue 6th Dec 2022 20:03

This was inspired by one of those ambulance/hospital documentaries which depicted a similar event. Overworked carers & lonely, vulnerable pensioners. Enhanced over the winter season
Thank you very much for the comments Julie, Rose & John, and Jennifer, I know exactly what you mean. Concentration becomes a slippery skill! And thank you very much Brenda, Tom, Stephen & Leon, and yes, it was the Devil's wallpaper! 🌈🌷🌷

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julie callaghan

Tue 6th Dec 2022 16:58

Brilliant and heartbreaking. 😢

<Deleted User> (9882)

Tue 6th Dec 2022 12:54

Brilliant but so sad Stephen and I think your best one

Rose 💋

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John Botterill

Mon 5th Dec 2022 21:53

Sad but so very true, Stephen

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jennifer Malden

Mon 5th Dec 2022 19:32

So well described, with compassion, but seeing also the tragedy of it all. Find even now, being pretty ancient have to concentrate on what I'm doing!!! Rather alarming. Perhaps better in our grandparents' day when they didn't often get this far. remember as a child, being taken to see an 'Uncle Charlie' who was 80, in a wheel chair and presented as a king of holy relic! Definitely frightening.

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Brenda Wells

Mon 5th Dec 2022 17:31

Really got inside the head of this person, while giving him a voice.
So important, it's very easy to observe the behaviour and forget the anguish of the individual.
Thank you

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Mon 5th Dec 2022 16:52

Brilliant Stephen. Definitely got to me. 👍

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Stephen Gospage

Mon 5th Dec 2022 16:41

Genuinely moving and frightening, Stephen. The real thing.

<Deleted User> (34685)

Mon 5th Dec 2022 16:33

ohh-if I ( as a pro-decorator ) had a quid for every roll I had hung of that el cheapo wallcovering I'd be a very rich man-but! once on, you try getting it off! 😮 only with a steam stripper was the answer in them thar days

fab poem man


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