We went to visit our old neighbor
after they moved her to a nursing home,
an old English lady of ninety-one,
still with that accent of east-end London
and the sweet pleasantness of the kind.
She was too old, too alone to live alone.
She would forget to turn off the gas range
or how to turn on the thermostat or TV,
She had trouble following a simple talk,
but remembered the Blitz, 75 years past,
as if the Nazi bastards were still at the door,
and London was in turmoil: as though Hell
had crashed through the gates of Heaven.
So her family moved her, leaving empty
the house next door, empty of our friend
of 30 some years, empty of her lilting
English accent and her sharp sense of
good old fashioned English humor…
and it seemed like someone had died.
After a few weeks we went to visit her,
my wife and I, taking some sweets and
a small plant– oh yes, and our sadness
too– though we made sure to leave it
outside, unattended to for the moment.
We entered a very large and rambling
sort of building, with pleasant lawns
and locked doors and intercoms for
some voice to decide if you can enter.
It was like sort of a prison, you think,
but a very nice and very clean prison.
Our neighbor was in a special wing,
called rather romantically, ‘Cedar Cove’
and as we entered through yet another
set of stout doors, we greeted her and
she smiled back, but very much as
one might greet a total stranger….