Shadows


Photo Credit: guardian.co.uk

Photo Credit: guardian.co.uk

She wraps her frail form in cashmere
loneliness, dreams dreams of days
spent wallowing in beauty, immersed
in worlds of aromatic cassia, luxuriating
in a hammock, strung, perhaps, between
two willows by the water.

These days she languishes within the
prison of her penthouse.

People she used have gone ahead, and
those who turned to her for gifts moved on,
forget. The room is cast in darkest quiet—
a tomb, expectant. I watch her finger
the fringe of loneliness, not seeing, there
before her, the rutilant sweetness of another
setting sun.

These days she languishes within the
prison of an angry mind.

I’m linking this to dVerse Poets Open Link Night. Please join us in the poetry pub where we gather to share our work and support one another. The doors swing open at 3:00 PM EDT.

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35 thoughts on “Shadows

  1. Lindy Lee says:

    Nurses call the shots, as you did here in the “Shadows”…

    Like

  2. Baishali says:

    such a beautiful write my dear …

    Like

  3. Just another thought. I have a very positive association with shadows–they shelter me from the glare of the sun, which assaults my senses. Yet nearly reference to shadows in literature has a tone of dread or nefariousness. Interesting. Shadows can shield you from harm, real or imagined…

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  4. This line: “…the rutilant sweetness of another
    setting sun.” Ka-pow!

    And this poem make me think about all the ways we believe that we imprison ourselves. I say “believe” because we are our own captures, yet so many of us act as if someone else dangles the keys to our cells just out of our reach.

    Like

  5. Rowan Taw says:

    I volunteer with Age Concern and regularly visit a lovely lady who was a victim of elder abuse (had to get a restraining order against her son), so this really struck me.

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  6. ayala says:

    This made me sad, so true for so many. A beautiful write.

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  7. ‘I watch her finger
    the fringe of loneliness, not seeing, there
    before her, the rutilant sweetness of another
    setting sun.’ such deep sorrow and loss for what is not fully experienced.

    Like

  8. I find this absolutely beautiful and so honest. Simple with a touch of nostalgia yet effective in it’s construction. The fact that there is no rhyme scheme and it is a free verse makes it stand as a poem of the heart which is open to expression. You say this is based on an experience, so I suppose it was written out of impulse! Wonderful job! I think the idea of it is good because it is personalised and those are the poems that come out best 🙂
    -Samantha

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  9. dragyonfly says:

    A very poignant reflection on a segment of life. I know of many who were self centered and greedy in life, and in the end no one was there for them. Of course there are no guarantees of anything but to live a charitable life seems to be the most rewarding. But I enjoyed the jolt of reality.

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  10. punnypalaver says:

    Beautiful imagery here–the details highlight the difference between then and now and even create an interesting cause and effect–being used and using others leaves one alone when all the motivation is gone. A prison indeed.

    Like

  11. kaykuala says:

    Aging and loneliness comes at a time when one is least able to do justice for oneself. Sadly one is in a most vulnerable situation. It may even be compounded with dementia. Nicely Victoria!

    Hank

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  12. nico says:

    Finger the fringe of loneliness–powerfully done, arousing sympathy for those often forgotten.

    Like

  13. Akila says:

    Its a journey, tough when loved ones arent there around for reason, well, not all justified and the ones in the same boat do see an end too, one day, some day. Loved the way you have captured it here. One way or the other, prisoned to living

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  14. at this ripe age, elders need our love and affection…

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  15. ladynyo says:

    The truth of aging and aging alone. As I am older than many/most? of the people at dverse….I wonder about my own destination.
    A very good and thoughtful write, Victoria.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  16. Jamie Dedes says:

    Lovely and sad. Such a reflection on our culture that this happens. Well done, Victoria.

    Like

  17. The truth of age and loneliness…… Victoria, there is so much truth and sadness in your words. Not everyone sees the things you describe here. Many are just blind to such things, or careless. Perhaps they are better off, as God tells us knowledge is a burden. As a young man and recently married I took a sales position between jobs just to bring money to our table. Our sales office made cold calls and offered people a free set of steak knives if they would allow one of our salesmen into their homes for our pitch. I went to the home of a shut in, a woman who had outlived her musician husband by at least 30 years. Her home was so dark, old thick woolen draperies from the 1940’s covered her rotting and peeling wood-worked windows, the dust was piled and it was immediately obvious to me that she was on the fringe of not being able to care for herself. She told me that she had been home-bound for several years, and that her neighbor had been helping out by doing the grocery shopping for her. She explained that her neighbor had passed away the previous week and she didn’t know what she was going to do. She said that she received a call from our office about sending a salesman over, and was wondering if we could help her. I can’t tell you the emotions that flooded through me. But I was in training and with a senior rep, who got up and stated that he was sorry, but there was nothing we could do and he made several gestures fro me to head for the door. I guess I was lagging because he took my arm and physically dragged me toward the door. I hadn’t paid attention to that street name, as I wasn’t driving. Later while eating dinner I asked my rep if he might consider helping her. His response made me feel like he had blinders on and was not able to see the misery invading her life. I felt sorry for her and for him. But because of my own dire circumstances I wasn’t able to help her. I feel bad about that to this day, but have used this memory to spread charity and cheer whenever I can. Guilt can be a driving force to good, i think. But that’s neither here nor there…. Lovely poem, as always, Victoria…..

    Like

  18. This is such a beautiful write–

    You have a wonderful sensitivity to this time of life–I loved the fringe of loneliness

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  19. MarinaSofia says:

    Heartbreaking – that fringe of loneliness really spoke to me.

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  20. You illustrate the rewards reaped after a life dedicated to self, use of others, greed.

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  21. Oh this is so sad. the process of agina. I see it in my own mother, and I recall my grandmothers the same,

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  22. Susan says:

    Tears came as I thought of my Grandmother’s “the Golden years, ha!” She almost dies bitterness in act . . . This is so well treated in well-chosen repetition and variation.

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  23. brian miller says:

    dang vic…you made me tear up…saw my gramma this weekend…she is in her 90s and fell not too long back…she can barely raise herself out of the chair now and seems so frail…but still fighting for independence and not understanding why her friends can but…a hard one to read for me…

    Like

  24. Mohana says:

    That sad stage of life…very well captured.

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  25. I suppose we can find a bitter light to our lives no matter what. It seems she was held captive by greed and then by age and bitterness. Well written Victoria 🙂

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  26. claudia says:

    i think it’s a time of transition…a tough time..makes it easier when we know where we’re going…beautifully captured victoria

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  27. Mary says:

    I feel the deep loneliness of this person….who is at the end of her life with nothing much left. The cashmere loneliness is a remnant of her perhaps former life, rich with elegance. Now everyone has passed on or moved on, and she sits alone. So very sad, Victoria, that it has all come to this.

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  28. viv blake says:

    Only too frequent a story, sad to say. This line puzzled me, and I wondered if there was a word or two missing? “People she used have gone ahead,”

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    • No, it needs to be read as “used” in the sense of manipulation to get ahead. And likewise, when she was successful and very rich, people used her but when they got what they wanted forgot about her. By way of example, only one person from a charity she gave oodles to came to her funeral. Obviously, this is about someone I once knew. I’ll have to rework this to make it clearer.

      Like

  29. wolfsrosebud says:

    you so captured the feeling of this time of life

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  30. Victoria, this is beautiful. So sad. We both wrote about shadows today, of different types.

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