You Used To Sing

You used to sing
When your heart was light
Your voice so harmonious
When life was easier

I remember that time
When your heart sang too
Joy came visiting
More often than now

Your voice went silent
Many years ago
Tunes of resentment
Are your music instead

Now fear has crept in
Pain has joined too
They’ve settled in deep
Happiness pushed out

No longer able
No longer can
Simple tasks
Bring you grief

Face contorted
With anguished woe
You’ve clutched so tight
To your suffering,
It’s made its home
Within your bones

And with your acceptance
It’s come right in
Can’t let it go
It’s become a friend,
A crutch, a tool
To have its way

We try our best
To give you help
To serve and attend
And offer assist
But your bitterness flies
And attacks our worth

Our spirit crushes
Underneath the assault

Poor, poor mother
We fill up with compassion
Such a dilemma…
We wish you well

I submit a revised version of a poem I posted previously; Victoria C. Slotto invites us to try our hand at writing in second person over at dVerse Poets:

Leave a comment


  1. hard place to be…trying to help a parent…its a tough transition for them to go from the one that cares for to being cared for…it can be for a family as well…and when you see them slipping too it can be sad, esp remembering what they were…had that with Ts mom…


  2. Well you nailed the second person and we’re writing to the same topic. I can’t help but think of the teaching that pain happens, but suffering is optional.


    • I saw that our topics were the same, Victoria. We’re both at that age where this is a common scenario. And you’re so right, the pain happens but we can choose whether or not to suffer through it.


  3. I meant to say, the same topic as I wrote about…our aging mothers.


  4. Broke my heart, this. How sad to watch the decline.


    • Not easy, true. Definitely can see that the roles have shifted to the children now “parenting”…sometimes a stubborn “child.”


  5. This is so sad when our loved ones don’t accept our help but instead becomes bitter and difficult each year ~ You got the voice ~


  6. Hard to not feel hurt when help is scorned or resented and yet…so needed. Having been a carer of my partner, I can see both sides of this and, it hurts on both sides.


    • Yes, it can be hard not to feel hurt. But this is not something new to her personality…although maybe escalated now. It’s also hard to know when to draw the line of giving help and perhaps taking some of their independence before necessary. Having gone through this, Bren…I know you have felt the pain.


  7. Laurie Kolp

     /  December 13, 2012

    Still so very touching.


  8. Oh whew, this is sad, Gayle. You have done second person well, and I think second person really helps the reader FEEL. That last stanza is….I wish I could find the right word….so good. It makes me FEEL for you and your mother.


    • I’m glad the feelings came through clearly, Mary. They are sometimes acute and I have felt the emotions involved so strongly..perhaps it shows up just that much more when I share them. Thanks, Mary.

      Did I ever tell you that my youngest sister is named, Mary? Every time I see your name, I think of her… 🙂


  9. a lovely poem, yet few things are as sad as seeing a parent diminish.


  10. A beautiful discriptive poem Gayle. I know of so many who grow older who hold bitterness close. It twists their minds and eats into their soul. My mother was one who could never Sing. Thank you for this wonderful share.

    Be well and enjoy this festive time of giving. Its made all the more magical with the gifts of our grandchildren. 🙂 :). Love Sue xxx


    • Thank you, Sue. I think sometimes negative tendencies in personalities can grow more pronounced with aging…and insecurities, etc. My once independent mother has become fearful and unsure in many ways. My mother actually had a beautiful voice when younger and sang in the choir in church and around the house as well…she did use to sing.

      Yes, the gift of that little granddaughter is all I need. Enjoy yours as well…such blessings for us both. 🙂 I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays however you may celebrate them, Sue.

      Gayle xoxo


  11. Quite moving…almost unbearably so…


  12. so sad when song leaves us… must work hard to treasure it


  13. ..a very sad feel on this..and you don’t just narate here… you make us feel it… you make us be part of the scene… with the easy flow of it you won’t realize you’re already carried away with all the deeo emotions you burried here… great write as always… smiles..


    • I am glad that the feeling has come through…because it can be very emotionally hard. Thank you for a wonderful share so much with me and it’s very appreciated. Thank you, Kelvin.


  14. hypercryptical

     /  December 14, 2012

    A sad poem of loss before death. It is so difficult to watch someone you love in decline.

    Anna :o]


  15. Agree with all above. I’ve seen parents and grandparents decline. A gradual death is really so bad. Well written.


  16. Your poem filled me with sadness. Sometimes life is so hard as we get older.


  17. A very touching poem.


  18. very painful and touching. you did a great job here, so much raw emotion.


    • I think I’m good at raw emotion..I seem to be able to tap into my heartache pretty well. Now, if I could only let it go…right. Thank you, Miriam.


  19. It’s made worst now that my MIL is stricken with dementia. One must have extras – extra patience, care, feelings and awareness. Not adjusting will be rough on both parties! Nicely Gayle!



    • I’m sorry you’re dealing with that, Hank…my heart goes out to your family. And you’re so right about the “extras” that are needed. Thanks so much for coming by.


  20. Very moving poem Gayle, and sentiments I can very muxh relate to. Thank you for sharing.

    Christine x


  21. Touching. Sweet.
    Time does come when child becomes parent. That’s just the way it often is.


  22. Moving piece, Gayle. Life is full of such contrasts: the joy and promise of your new granddaughter; the anguish of seeing your mother so changed. But your heart and kind spirit always shine through.



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