In the Old People’s Home

Each one sits in a tall, enclosing armchair,

Their hands unused, disowned,

Slack in their laps like sleeping rats.


Their heads lean forward, towards me.

Milky eyes peer to see what has been brought forth

To entertain them this afternoon.


From my lectern in the centre of the arc of chairs

I note the palatial architecture, the vaulted ceilings,

Swagged velvet curtains, chandeliers.


I look at my audience and see turtles,

Civilised turtles, wearing slippers, sitting upright,

Protected from each other by their wingback shells.


I could be in a sci fi epic, just landed,

Shell-less, naked as a shucked oyster,

Surrounded by inquisitive slow-time life forms.

I have nothing to bring them but my human pother,

And to assure them I mean no harm, to tell them

My chaotic little planet is still circling out there,

Still swathed in blue and white taffeta,

Tenderly beautiful, still young and reckless.

And I start: I’d like to read you a poem.



One thought on “In the Old People’s Home

  1. Indeed … powerful imagery Janice … I sometimes sing to them. One day I might be in a turtle shell … humbling thought … I love how you end the poem, bringing the world in there in all its life and beauty – that’s what we all need … we are far greater than our bodies, and nature connects us

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