I've seen old folks come and go,
Though some never seem to leave,
Others stay a day or two,
Or go at once, it seems.
It's hard to judge them sometimes,
Although I'm seldom wrong,
I've been standing here, you know
So very, very long.
Most folks pay me no attention,
Though I'm in an ornate pot,
But I guess I'm no distraction,
To those folks so lost in thought.
Synthetic plants fill empty corners,
Or cover faulty spots in floors,
We seldom rate a second glance,
Plastic leaves and stems are bores.
But we're easy to maintain,
And we last a long, long time,
A little dusting now and then,
Keeps us in our shiny prime.
Thus for thirty years, I've held my spot,
Inside the entry to THE HOME,
So you know I've seen them come and go,
By the pair or all alone.
The sign out front reads HAPPY HOME,
And I suppose that could be true,
A few folks do seem happy here,
But ... very, very few.
They arrive with suitcases in hand,
Which hold all their worldly things,
After a lifetime of endeavor,
It seems this is all they bring.
Retirement homes are like this,
The less one brings, the better,
Favorite photos and mementos,
Perhaps treasured cards and letters.
They bring tired, faded garments,
Worn and old and out of style,
Some needing snaps and buttons,
Still thought to be worthwhile.
Self-conscious, nervous, they shake hands,
With whoever's there to greet them,
But there is fright within their eyes,
THE HOME means to defeat them.
Some use walkers; some use canes,
Some amble slowly on their own,
A few stand erect with shoulders back,
Do they think they can defeat THE HOME?
Even with my plastic heart,
I sense their anguish, feel their pain,
They don't say so, but I know so,
They're wrapping up the old ballgame.
Sometimes they come with young adults,
Who get them settled; then they leave,
They often don't come back again,
The old soul left alone ... aggreived.
Oh, at first, perfunctory visits,
They meet awkwardly in the hall,
And then it seems the visits stop,
And shortly no one comes at all.
I see folks sitting by the windows,
Watching ... waiting ... every day.
For anyone - even strangers,
Just someone who'd say, "Hey!"
Sometimes old arthritic hands
Touch and caress my plastic leaves,
They must feel that I'm not real,
But they are good at make-believe.
I'm just a plastic, potted plant,
I cannot cry nor weep,
But I can hold a lot of tears,
My ornate pot is deep.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright September 2005