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Dedicating poetry to others

Ever since there have been poets, there have been poems written in dedication to another. Poems are written on tombstones to memorialize a life. This is an elegy, or epitaphs. Poems are written for wedding nuptials or in celebration of a bride and groom’s wedding. These are Epithalamiums. A long serious poem about a person or a topic is an Ode. They are lyrical in nature, meaning that they are serious or meditative. Although these specific poetry types are listed because of their specific dedication, all poetry styles have been used to express feelings and emotions about a person, place, or event. Any occurrence that creates a powerful emotional state can be a basis for a unique poem.

One such experience could be watching a parent slowly fade away before your eyes, although living, their memories are no longer clear. Having them physically present, but encountering a stranger. For this pain, there is very little to take it away. One poet decided to begin her healing process by writing a poem and dedicating it to her father, an Alzheimer’s victim.


Dad’s Alzheimer’s
Dedicated to “Claus”

There will be no remission
For him, there'll be no cure,
No Triumphant survivor,
Folded ribbon on his shirt.

The illness ~ catastrophic
A holocaust in kind
Photographs remain intact
The memory, strip mined.

The laughter's still contagious
The grip remains as strong,
Sixth Grade speech is effortless,
Children's names now often gone.

Visits begin with hugs and laughter
Tears help close the door
A brief update on current events
Then stories about The War.

Good mood ever present,
He works hard to engage
Re-reads the funny papers
And never turns the page.

Chance meeting at a bookstore
The warm familiar place
I am his middle child
He did not know my face.

Bittersweet melancholy
Travels from head to heart,
How strange and sad to miss my Dad
While sitting chairs apart.

"Father-words" and stories
Alive within my head,
I share them with my daughters now
Like sweet morsels of bread.

Family portraits do not reveal,
Mirrors cannot reflect,
The slow steady progression
Of altered intellect.

How cruel is this disease,
Disassembling from within,
Leaving no trace of evidence
For the mirror or the skin.

The Porch Light of my Father's soul
Shines with a brilliant light,
Oh! WHY was this man chosen?
How can this be right?

In his soul, pray he's aware
Of love for him we cherish
In our hearts ~ our memories
The man we love won't perish.

He has given precious gifts
We're all richer for receiving
Gifts reborn in daughters and sons
A legacy he’s leaving.

Why place loss on paper now?
I find solace in the belief,
There is neither starting gun
Nor deadline for the grief.

God Bless this Heart so giving
Not keeping track or score
Raised his family ~ Lived life well
Deserving now, of more.

By Karen Hart Tillquist
May 2009

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