For NaPoWriMo 2021, Day 6, the prompt is: Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.
The line I chose was “Not all those who wander are lost.” from —The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. This is the poem that resulted. The quote in the last line of the poem is from the title character in Hamlet, by Wm. Shakespeare.
Inside My Sister’s Mind
In my life, sometimes,
when I was farthest from knowing where I was,
I was the closest to finding myself.
Is this how it is
for those who wander
the countless corridors of dementia?
Do they encounter themselves,
again and again,
unstuck from time?
Do our constant attempts to bring them back
hamper their journeys,
start them over again,
Every road we travel
need not be the same road—straight and chronological.
Dreams teach us that.
Put our minds in the clouds to float
hors d’oeuvres of memory,
a bite here
and a bite there.
Who are we to try to attempt to force feed an entire meal?
Perhaps dementia is a diet, of sorts, for the mind.
Selecting the most delectable,
forsaking the usual progression.
For our whole lives, we stuff ourselves
in a predictable manner,
from soup to crème brûlée.
Perhaps those lost to us are only lost to us,
but not themselves.
Perhaps their minds, led by a different palate,
enjoy a picnic of pick-and-choose,
spread out over a meadow
on a blanket that obscures
to allow them to enjoy
by the memory of the last.
“There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”