Tag Archives: poem about memory loss

Inside My Sister’s Mind

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.
                                           Unstick us.
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
each morsel
by the memory of the last.

“There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


Turn about Does Not Play Fair

Turn about Does Not Play Fair

If your social popularity has wandered off the track,
here’s a little good advice to help you get it back.
Practice your endurance. Listen when friends tell
all those oft-heard stories, even though you know them well.
But don’t expect the same from them when they show inattention
with each repeated story that you are going to mention.
Your stories retold more than once lack the fascination
of their latest version of their favorite rumination.

Prompt words today are go, social, track, endurance and listen.
This photo used for illustrative purposes only. In no way is this poem actually about these two lovely women.

Memory Care

jdb photo

Memory Care

I’m tumbling backwards into silence.
My words have lost their spark.
When I seek enlightenment,
I’m only met by dark.

When I try to pick a theme, 
my thoughts quickly retreat.
Looking for a place to rest,
they rarely find a seat.

Where do memories go to 
when they cannot find a door—
when there’s no exit for them, 
and there’s no room for more?

Does our memory simply melt
starting with today
so the things that we remember
are only yesterday?

Do we wander empty corridors
or is our distant past
our favorite thing to think about
so they’re the thoughts that last?


I’ve been thinking a lot about dementia lately, but no, I don’t feel I’m describing myself in this poem. I am, however, trying to put myself in my sister Betty’s place to try to figure out what might be going through her mind…or what in her mind she might be going through. Certainly, we all have enough memories stored to entertain ourselves for life, and perhaps as we run out of room it is the last memories, more seldom thought of, that vanish first, leaving us with a rich inner world we are loath to leave. I hope this is true, or that we go back to a state of consciousness similar to where an infant exists before it is born, listening to the mystery of outside sounds and wondering where we are going to fit into them. Without words, are there thoughts? Unfortunately, not all mysteries are solved.

Prompts today were spark, pick, silence and backward. Here are links:

Mnemonic Phonics




Mnemonic Phonics

Babies use clues amniotic
to deal with stimuli chaotic,
but later, memory gets thick.
In short,  it’s anything but quick.

Age slows us down and trims our wick,
fogs our recall,  slows our pick.
So I resort to many a trick
to give my mind a little kick.

This loss of memory’s demonic
and leads to fits most histrionic,
so I depend on clues mnemonic
for memory that’s supersonic:

(Can you guess what the below mnemonic devices help me to remember?)

Neither leisured foreigner
seized or forfeited the weird heights.

Every good boy does fine.
Good boys do fine always.

My very excellent mother just spewed up nine plums.

How about you?  What mnemonic devices do you use?


The prompt word is mnemonic.

Utilitarian Artifice


Utilitarian Artifice

My sugar’s artificial. It’s a fact. So is my creamer.
A year ago, I had a little crackup in my Beemer,
and now I have an artificial ear and foot and femur.

Pretty soon my whole darn life will just be what it seems,
while the authentic “real” of me will be a thing of dreams.
I can’t find where I stored my leg, I left my fur coat somewhere.
I parked my car last week but can’t remember how to come there.

So if it’s really necessary—all this substitution,
I’m asking some inventor  to come up with a solution.
If artificial intelligence is the way it’s going to be,
please implant me with an artificial memory!

The prompt word today was “artificial.”