Our Favorite Poems Written By Seniors

The end of life can be a scary period of transition for many men and women. Many of their closest friends and family have died, drifted apart, or been sent away to live the rest of their lives in the unfamiliar environment that is the typical American care facility. Many such facilities try to inspire new residents to explore their feelings through the written word — especially poetry. It can be a way to talk about fear or let out the new feelings…but also a way of finding new friends who like to listen!

One Atria Tanglewood resident who was born in Germany in 1925 wrote a poem on “Being Sad.” And she would know a lot about the subject. She never enjoyed much social security until it was actually time to collect, because she grew up in Nazi Germany. She escaped to England by the time she was thirteen years old. At that point, she lost her family members — and support system. But she always stayed positive despite these adverse conditions. Here’s “Being Sad” in its entirety:

There are times when we feel sad

Not even knowing what brought on the bad

We must shake it away

Bring happy thoughts to stay

There is so much to be grateful for

So much to enjoy – happiness right at the door

There is sunshine – birds singing – blue sky

Then we ask ourselves – feel sad? Why?

Get rid of sad thoughts – bring on the smile

That will make you feel great for more than a mile

So, keep going – enjoy being you

And that will really be true!

The following poem is called “Reminiscing” and was written by resident Paul — who, at 98 years old, has a number of beautiful words to sum up the pangs of nostalgia we experience so often in life, especially when we begin to see the end. But knowing it’s there doesn’t slow everyone down. Here’s the poem:

I have a secret buried deep down inside…

And nobody knows it but me.

My life flowed like a river…so deep and so wide…

And nobody knows it but me.

Yesterday’s dreams seem to linger and linger

Of when I was young, barefoot and free…

Yet I look back and sigh…but the years still speed by…

And nobody knows it but me.

My mind travels back thru days sweet and sublime…

And nobody knows it but me.

I pause and reflect thru space and thru time…

And nobody knows it but me.

I dream now and then and recall once again

All the promises that were destined to be…

They’re still on my mind…all those memories left behind…

And nobody knows it but me.

I’ve gone thru the dusk of my twilight years…

And nobody knows it but me.

I reminisce time and again without fright…without fear…

And nobody knows it but me.

Grateful for living my life until now…

When the best things in life were free…

My deep secret then…is to live over and over again

At Atria …where nothing ever seems to grow old.