(913)213-8799
Contact@AgeWiseKC.com

Finding a Common Language through Poetry

Finding a Common Language through Poetry – Caroline Dawson

As a young child, standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, I recall when she’d set me to a task and then gleefully recite with fake seriousness:

“Stand not upon the order of your going, But goat once.”

With a giggle and a wink she’d say:  “go at…but my school book printed it “goat”.  I’m sure that’s not what Lady Macbeth meant, but we liked it better that way.”
Well into her late nineties Gran would quip off snippets of poetry, lyrics or bits of plays. Her pleasure at the lingering familiarity of these well loved words and melodies was obvious.

There is a rhythm in the turning of seasons, a rhythm in our days.

Patterns of meals, and laundry and mundane tasks.

Repetition sets thoughts, sensations and habits into our minds, hearts and hands.

“Stand not upon the order of your going, But goat once.” was repeated often enough to become a pattern for me –  I still find myself misquoting this line urging myself to get a move on.

The popularity of nursery rhymes combined with the common practice in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s of rote memorization of poetry, means many seniors have a common, shared vocabulary of their childhood. And, theseCommon Vocabulary AgeWise patterns of repetition were set so early and so deeply that even seniors living with advanced symptoms of dementia can often participate in reciting poetry.

Caregivers can enliven times spent with seniors by reading and repeating poetry together. (See below for inspiration links)

Pick a nursery rhyme and give it a try:

“Hey diddle diddle,…..” (Just hearing the first line prompts the mind to fill in the blank!)

“…The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed, To see such sport, And the dish ran away with the spoon.”

Or how about: “Jack and Jill…” …went up the hill.

This week is the first week of Spring and in Kansas the daffodils are out!

To celebrate here is William Wordsworth’s famous poem about the memory of these bright yellow flowers. Enjoy, and share this poem with someone today!

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

(Here is a link to a recording at the Poetry Foundation)

Daffodils

If you are interested in more information regarding the therapeutic link between poetry and seniors with symptoms of dementia, take a look at: The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. Especially their tips on sharing poetry.

Looking for more poems about spring or another topic?  The Poetry Foundation has a helpful search function, including searching by seasonal theme. Here’s some more Springtime Inspiration.

 

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Join our visitors who are receiving our newsletter and receive our blog updates direct to your inbox.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
Comments are closed.

Testimonials

“AgeWise staff have been a delight to work with for a number of years. They have been integral team members in caring for four senior adults in my family. They have dealt with difficult situations with intelligence and sensitivity. We know we can count on them to assess needs ranging from Alzheimer's care to end of life issues and help provide compassionate solutions. AgeWise staff have gone above and beyond to assist my family.”
2015-08-30T22:42:03+00:00
“AgeWise staff have been a delight to work with for a number of years. They have been integral team members in caring for four senior adults in my family. They have dealt with difficult situations with intelligence and sensitivity. We know we can count on them to assess needs ranging from Alzheimer's care to end of life issues and help provide compassionate solutions. AgeWise staff have gone above and beyond to assist my family.”
“… is very competent, goes the extra mile and very dependable which is hard to find.”
2015-08-30T22:39:44+00:00
“… is very competent, goes the extra mile and very dependable which is hard to find.”
“AgeWise has the gift of striking just the correct and proper balance between caring, being your client's advocate, and yet effecting change in a professional manner for the children who live at a distance.“
2015-08-30T22:40:53+00:00
“AgeWise has the gift of striking just the correct and proper balance between caring, being your client's advocate, and yet effecting change in a professional manner for the children who live at a distance.“
“Again, I am so impressed with the services you are offering and the way you impact lives. You have a calming, caring, confident, and very real spirit that makes the difficult conversations easier. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
2015-08-30T22:44:59+00:00
“Again, I am so impressed with the services you are offering and the way you impact lives. You have a calming, caring, confident, and very real spirit that makes the difficult conversations easier. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“AgeWise was a godsend. They are very knowledgeable and skilled in working with people with mental health issues. She did a super job holding my family member's and my hand throughout the process. She was very sensitive to managing the cost of her services and at the same time delivered excellent value. AgeWise exceeded my expectations.”
2015-08-30T22:40:16+00:00
“AgeWise was a godsend. They are very knowledgeable and skilled in working with people with mental health issues. She did a super job holding my family member's and my hand throughout the process. She was very sensitive to managing the cost of her services and at the same time delivered excellent value. AgeWise exceeded my expectations.”
“I’ve worked closely with the AgeWise team in my role as private duty care manager/Apartment nurse at a retirement community. Because of the competent and compassionate service they provide, I highly recommend them to you and would personally use them if my family member needed care management.”
2015-08-30T22:42:39+00:00
“I’ve worked closely with the AgeWise team in my role as private duty care manager/Apartment nurse at a retirement community. Because of the competent and compassionate service they provide, I highly recommend them to you and would personally use them if my family member needed care management.”
“I highly respect her for her kindness, diligence, intelligence, resourcefulness, courage, and just plain hard work. I do not know where I would be without her. I would recommend AgeWise with high honors.”
2015-08-30T22:41:24+00:00
“I highly respect her for her kindness, diligence, intelligence, resourcefulness, courage, and just plain hard work. I do not know where I would be without her. I would recommend AgeWise with high honors.”
“Thanks for the input, it was great. I really appreciated what you had to share and I believe we all found it valuable. It got us going in the right direction.”
2015-08-30T22:43:12+00:00
“Thanks for the input, it was great. I really appreciated what you had to share and I believe we all found it valuable. It got us going in the right direction.”