Gone Out

She smiles –

blue-green eyes

flame warmth

in the firelight.

She smiles –

I look to flickering

coals – they are ash.

She smiles –

I wait – wait patiently

for an ember to ignite.


the paper clip –

it kept together pages

of her existence.

© Robert C Kirk

 Robert writes:

 For the most part, I do not explain the ‘meaning’ behind a poem, but rather prefer it to create a response with the ‘reader’ in whatever way he/she ‘reads’ it. However, in this instance, I will give a brief explanation.  ‘Gone Out’ and ‘Lost’ are linked to one another and deals with the issue of Dementia, an umbrella term for the many types of memory loss; and in particular to a wonderful Christian lady who I have known for some time, and who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some time back. Now after several months her condition has deteriorated.  On my last visit with her, she continually smiled at me, and repeated on several occasions: ‘I think I know you; but I cannot remember you.’  Although her smile was full of warmth, behind it, there was inherent, a sense of frustration.  A few days later, I found a paper-clip lying on the floor at home. The connection was made.

In many ways, we are who we are through memory; for the most part, it gives us our own sense identity within the world; how we relate to others via visual recognition. Take memory away – then one can easily be isolated and frightened, and on occasions may manifest itself in frustration, anger and even violence. Much progress is being made in understanding all forms of Dementia (and even as I write this, on a wet Monday morning, I have just listened to a news item on BBC Radio 4 concerning Alzheimer’s, wherein scientists and researchers have found ‘new triggers’ within the brain, which will help to combat this condition).  Unfortunately, it still affects around 750,000 people in the UK. And so we pray:

Heavenly Father, be with those who suffer from all forms of Dementia; let your presence be known to them; that they are not alone. Bestow upon them a quite mind and a peaceful heart; take away the fear of uncertainty and unknowing; give them O Heavenly Father, an ember to kindle memory, and that they may know the power of your healing love; we ask this, through your dear Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.