Nursing Home











Enter through the twin lock door
Followed by each listless stare
Wonder what inside’s in store
Helpless people everywhere

Old folk guided by a nurse
Tramp the sterile corridor
Good old times they still rehearse
While they shuffle ‘round the floor

Sadie sits in her wheel chair
Reaches out as we pass by
Old Joe looks with vacant stare
Max gives standing one more try

“Help” comes from a twin share room
Mable’s lost her power to reason
Husband sits there in the gloom
Wondering if she’ll last this season

Old folk circle home rec’ room
Nurse plays jazzy piano piece
Women trill and menfolk boom
Finding this a sweet release

Then we reach Matilda’s room
Face lights up as we step in
Visit penetrates her gloom
Loves these visits from her kin

Later when its time to go
Speaks to us in whispers low
‘Tilda holds us very tight
“You’ll be back tomorrow, right?”

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 all rights reserved”

26 thoughts on “Nursing Home

  1. Touching, Ian. Great ending. You take me back to the nursing homes where I led the young homeschoolers from our group in Cmas caroling last winter. It was hard to see some of the seniors like that.


    1. Yes human sympathy does come into play, but there is also the feeling that someday you may suffer the same fate if the dice rolls your way. Knowing that should make us more willing to bring cheer to those poor people in any way we can.


  2. You captured this scene perfectly, Ian, and it’s an emotional issue to think about. My Mom passed away two years ago, but lived at home until the very end and she was 90. My Dad is still very much alive and driving at 94. I don’t even want to think about losing him, losing both…But, when they become elderly they also become vulnerable and their care is so vital. I don’t live close to him, but he lives with one of my sisters and my other sister is close also…I could on and on, but I won’t. Thanks for sharing…


    1. Yes the joint family system is breaking down in other parts of Asia too. That’s a great pity! No longer is it possible to provide work for the whole family in ancestral places any more, Many of the children move abroad to earn and they do look after their parents at home when they age but its not the same as mutual support inter-generational as it was in previous times. Both of our children and their families live in the US and we live in Australia.


  3. It breaks my heart when I visit nursing homes. Some are better than others around here but in all of them the people always look sad and lonely. There are an unbelievable amount of people who are put in the homes and the families never go back to visit them. How very, very sad that is. You have depicted very well in this poem sweet Ian scenes I have witnessed. Hugs


  4. So very sad and true, you capture the boredom and hopelessness. The only thing which you omitted was the smell – how I hate that smell. The nurses are angels – it must be a hard job. The only one worse would be a hospice nurse although at least their residents can see their way out As our society gets older this is going to become an increasingly difficult problem. I m sure that most of us are like Eric and pray for a fast delivery.


    1. I marvel at the dedication of those who care for our elderly folk now on the slippery slope. They are angels indeed! As for the smell, it hits you when you open the front door and you can associate that smell with fear.


    1. Yes I guess when our parents pass along we have to confront the stark realization we are now the old generation. Then when we see our peers and partners pass on it reinforces the fact we are now on the short list.


  5. You’ve presented this very well, Ian, almost as if from first-hand experience and knowledge.

    This is a tough existence and something I don’t wish upon anyone.

    Like most people, I would rather go with a bang and quickly. The last thing is to be a burden to our loved ones and to draw them down emotionally and otherwise.

    Peace and blessings,


    1. Yes it was inspired by the many visits I made to a nursing home where one of my terminally ill relatives spent their last days. I’m with you in not wanting to be a burden in my last days and certainly not have to go out slowly with some dread disease.


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