It has been downhill since mom’s 90th birthday. She has been moved to assisted living and grows frailer and more unsteady in mind and body. Two hospitalizations in November- the most recent on Thanksgiving day- have taken their toll and she grows thinner and weaker. Never a big person, she is so reduced in bulk that she looks like she might melt away entirely. But she still has a spark, an essence, a self. It still infuses her being and makes her a unique individual. She can even still laugh at herself for her strange dream that the hospital was really a bordello and she was trying to find a way to escape. But what of her future?
An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick, unless soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing for every tatter in its mortal dress.- Yeats
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Sonnet 73- Shakespeare
Does it help to read poetry about this all-to-human condition? Sometimes.