Cognitive Decline and the Beauty of Delay

I would perhaps not have been so sensitive to these lines by George Johnston if I was not aware of the work of Marlene Goldman on dementia and stigma, Forgotten: Narratives of Age-Related Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in Canada.


we come to our beauty,
     terrified or serene
or beyond both, more likely,
     knowing even as also we are known.

I guess I shall not again
     see him, as we leave his room;
his wits are gone
     and he is as though at home

yonder. He smiles from a distance;
     and he is, as you say, beautiful
for all his ambience
     of tubes and bottles, the whole

apparatus of delay
     that keeps some good things on,
his courtesy, and the play
     of his Irish sense of fun

George Johnston "Goodbye Margaret" in Endeared by Dark: The Collected Poems

And so for day 2226