A Spare Place

A Spare Place


I sit in a chair and gaze

At the faces opposite me;

Our hands trembling in unison

My keepers will never see

The shame I feel as I sit in

Soiled underwear, pervading

My soul, turning hope to dust

And I shall never leave this place

Of death and despair; ‘till a bag

Is zipped; they’ll cover my face

For fear I may cause offence.


Somebody said we have fish

For lunch; like a Mexican wave

Our frail excitement undulates

And we smile. No one is brave

Enough to ask” Is the fish fresh?”

Thus risking censorial frowns;

It pays to not rock the boat.

Mrs. Baker died yesterday.

Not one person lamented this,

No feelings in disarray;

A spare place at the table.



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8 responses to “A Spare Place


    I cared for my elderly mother for 15yrs until she died and spent 3 months lamenting her loss, even now several years later I miss her companionship and early morning talks.. I really believe society misses out so much today by farming off their parents/grandparents in old peoples homes. when I was young, the one thing I enjoyed about work so much was the older people I met and their experience. I used to listen enraptured to their stories of working in an age gone by… we do not often realise how much is stored in the people around us if we only chose to listen.

  2. penny

    I quite agree with you, my friend.

  3. Unknown

    Oh my, what an incredibly power poem… reflecting our failure as human being, the absense of compassion, the ability to ~not see~. I am not afraid to die, nor am I worried about heaven or hell or rotting back into the ground. But the thought of growing old, neglected and unloved and unable to care for myself… simply terrifies me.

  4. penny

    Sad to say, I saw this sort of thing first hand, in another life, when I was young, Jake. Terrifying.

  5. Nik

    i really like it, makes me fear getting old though, i don’t want to regret where i end up, or atleast, how i got there

  6. Martin

    Very thought provoking and scary in such a real way

  7. Happy

    What a powerful poem Penny. Each line just enough to paint this picture of isolation.

  8. Malcolm

    a really potent write – so truly real – very moving!

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