Detritus of a life
Receipts, bills and Christmas cards –
A person’s life reduced to forests of paper.
A story encoded across its leaves
Spidery handwriting tracking
vain attempts at keeping up,
Overdue notices evidence
of the falling behind.

The faltering failing of a Man
who did not know how to
ask for help.

Photographs no longer treasured
Clothes hanging, never to be worn again
House contents awaiting disposal.
The house itself decaying along
with its inhabitant.

A graceless decline of an Elder
stranded in a world
that had no value for him.

What meaning in a life thus ending?


  1. Oh Dinali….I’m feeling your pain. Yes it’s very sad when a person’s life is reduced to paper, cards and numbers. I’m guessing you may have had your Dad in mind when you wrote this but of course I could be wrong. Is your Dad still with us? That sorting out of possessions process seems to take forever. Currently I am working on my Mum’s thousands of photos, wondering what in the world I am going to do with them! How do we get back to soul and spirit? For some elderly folk they are locked deep inside. I wonder why, as humans, we often bury that? Maybe because of hurt, pain and unhealed ‘festering sores’. I remember listening to Ian Olver speak once. He was then an oncologist at the RAH. He went on to become national CEO of the Cancer Council and after that to UniSA. He talked about sickness and end of life issues and he stressed the importance of the last chapter (as in like the last chapter of a novel). His emphasis was that every chapter is important and that even in the decay important things can happen. My hope for you and your Dad is that this stage of your lives can be a time for glimpsing soul and spirit. I know it’s not easy. 😞 Much love, Jan


  2. Wow Dinali Such beautiful writing of such sadness and decay.

    And the next piece of capitalism and individualism triumphing over simple hugs. I’ve started hugging, not kissing. Let’s have one on the weekend. Love To you Monica

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