The trouble with old people is
that they expect too much of us:
food, drink, warmth and light,
companionship, care and comfort.
My neighbour, Eileen, housebound
I promised that each day
I’d visit after work. But work
was forty miles away, by bus
and train, and back again.
Just once, exhausted, didn’t go.
Next day was chided. ‘Where were you?’
She’d had her half rice pudding tin
For dinner, as per usual, left
the other half on radiator
warming up for breakfast.
That son of hers! He’d burgled her
when husband was alive. He thought
that I should get her up each morning.
I, of course, said, ‘No.’ Her sister
sometimes came to clean and tidy;
she was old herself. One day
the ambulance was waiting. Sis
had found her, blackened, painful legs
and Eileen went to home, poor dear!
One time she said to me, ‘I dreamed
that I had died, and no-one played
‘The Old Rugged Cross.’ I wanted so
to hear it sung, but told myself
that Eleanor would put them straight.
Again, I let her down. You see
I had to work. I hope someone