Many Things To Tell You
Tom Heizen
ISBN 1885778147


"Grow old along with me - the best is yet to come..." assuredly applies to the gems and pearls emanating from these seniors - who are what we will be soon.
                                M. Waksman, MD., Geriatrics

"Those who are near to dying have much lore about living to share. Many Things to tell You yields such lessons to those who will listen."                                Rev. Joseph David Stinson

An Introduction to Some Natural Poets

            Many people living in nursing homes are accidental poets.  Like most poets they are virtually unrecognized, unread, and unappreciated -- sometimes, even by themselves.   But that lack of self-consciousness may be the very thing that makes people who live in nursing homes  such magnificent poets.  “Doctor,” inquired one resident, leaning forward on her walker as I was politely trying to leave at the end of the day,  “When you came to see me, was I there?”  It was a reasonable question -- but also startling, precise, provocative, spontaneous, tragic, full of double meanings, and just a little bit humorous.  Like a great deal of “real” poetry it was a rich,  insightful accident of speech that made me stop and think things over one more time. 

            People living in nursing homes use words for many creative purposes: to get rid of an undesired roommate, to persuade the dietician to serve more chocolate pudding, to distract themselves from disappointment, to drag humor into their difficult circumstances,  and to ferry an enjoyable past into a painful present.  They are creative at keeping wanderers out of their rooms,  creative at manipulating relationships to their personal advantage, and creative at disguising embarrassing disabilities.  But their smoothest creativity, to me, evolves almost undetected.  It is like the ocean tides quietly filling the upriver backwaters of the Hudson River with nutrients and wildlife.  By listening carefully to the words these residents  speak we can hear the gentle rise and fall of  small but meaningful preferences, the pull and tug of their everyday  frustrations, the inlet and the outflow of their remaining dreams.  This book reveals the natural inclination of very old people for poetic speech.     Continue ???