Poem introduction

I've written two poems, both of which are narrated by people with dementia. I am involved in a little charity called Kissing it Better, which sends teenagers, mainly, into care homes to read poems and sing to people with dementia, and I've been very very impressed, amazed often by the effects that these recitals have. I've seen a large number of very distressed people almost miraculously calmed down, at least for the time being by this, and of course while I have been in the care homes I have also made a mental note - never an actual note - but a mental note of speech patterns and things said and I wanted to try to make some of these into poems, and this one has a made up name, 'Audrey Wills.' The person I was thinking of when I wrote this has some sort of multiple personality disorder.

Audrey Wills

Two Late Portraits

1. Audrey Wills

I was a Brixham girl

and Dad's boat was

the pride of the fleet


every day

when they came ashore

   I had my pick of the mackerel


shiny blue suits


then again

I was stationed on the flying boats

that was a lovely time

they came in    very low over the water

or seemed to


ask yourself

what will you remember


In Llandudno   on honeymoon

singing at night   can you hear me

singing   and

I painted my toenails red

      I still do this

by myself

that's me there

dancing round and round the house

without a single brown penny in my purse


you see what I am saying

I am living

every colour except grey


and     you would not believe

     I have

looked after everyone     O

but I have

when I go to the doctor now

I find the door    closed

  do I knock    what


do I do


I sing


come in    I am Richard    I landed

on Gold Beach    I am Peter

I was married to Steve for 57 years

      I am Helen aged 72

              and I do tatting

I am Ali a widow     I am Ron

and I enjoy boiled potatoes

     and a drop of broth

I am not a lover of sweet things


as for me    I am Audrey    Audrey    open

the window

     and let me hear the seagulls

          le me hear the seagulls flying across


as for me     I love God and     I want to die

     what better thing is there   to live for







Faber and Faber

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Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion Downloads

1In the Attic


2Anne Frank Huis


3The Letter


4A Blow to the Head


5The Spoilt Child


6To Whom It May Concern


7Goethe in the Park


8On the Table


9Fresh Water




11The Dog of the Light Brigade




13A Glass of Wine


14The Fox Provides for Himself


15Closing the Curtains


16Red Gloves






19Passing On


20The Mower


21The Life of Harry Patch


22The Death of Harry Patch


23Now Then


24A Pine Cone


25The Gardener


26Holy Island


27The Discoveries of Geography






30The Fish in Australia


31The Mill


32Laying the Fire


33Through the Lych Gate


Books by Andrew Motion