A little book worth reading


Different Hats

Found a gem of a book at the library. I didn’t realize it was a local printing until I finished the book since I never look at the publishing, or author/s info unless I’ve fallen for the work inside. Why bother if the pages between the covers don’t hold your interest?

Well, this book of poems and stories from caregivers does. It resonated on a number of levels.

Take this simple line from Priscilla Dunning’s poem The Greenhouse Effect,

The older you get, the less there is to laugh about.’

I used to think once I hit old age I’d be a laughing don’t-care-‘bout-nothin’-where’s-the-candy bowl kind of codger. But now I recognise the truth in her line. There are days when I see little value in growing old.

And, as a caretaker, I felt the aching mind in the ending lines from her poem Compassion Fatigue,

‘I look forward to tomorrow

when empathy and enthusiasm

have recovered. ‘

But the poem that knocked my socks off was Gregory Lance Skala’s sad poem Angel of Mercy? and boy, did it ratchet up my spine a notch or two. Here’s four lines still pinging between my ears,

‘I resented

Witnessing his suffering

I panicked because

He made me see life as pointless’

I get what he’s saying in those lines. Anyone who’s ever looked after another soul that’s suffering or failing will understand. The problem is when thinking takes that nasty downward trickle, and the rest of his poem attests to how far down one can go,  trying to catch those thoughts is like trying to catch a pig-on-the-run.

I know I have to stop almost daily and check out my thoughts. See what’s bouncing around inside and what kind of feelings those thoughts are generating. I need to check and see if they are taking the high road or the low road and then I ask myself, “How’s that working for ya?”

If it ain’t . . . I’ve got some climbing to do.

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