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Foundation Fridays: Poet's Corner

elizabeth.killough's picture
on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 10:03
Harry LeFever, poet from Media, PA wrote a poem about dementia

Foundation board member and theater enthusiast, Tom Hibberd, took some of us out last night to see Bruce Graham's most recent play, "The Outgoing Tide". With unexpected humor, the play spotlights a family dealing with Alzheimer’s.  

The experience reminded me of the following beautiful and haunting poem by Harry LeFever, who wrote about the dementia that eventually took his life. Harry was a dear friend of Hal and Norma's and was husband to foundation board member, Mary LeFever. He is dearly missed, and we are so grateful for his words.

There’s a bore in my head
     from a blind worm
     feeding day and night.

It bears me no malice,
     it does what it is designed
     to do – ineluctably.

It chews silently,
     but I can measure
     what has been taken.

Almost benevolently
     it first nibbles at
     the cluttered present –

an acquaintance’s name,
     the title of a book,
     an appointment.

I’m told this sleepless worm
     will devour all that I cherish,
     all that is sweet and true.

I tried to deceive this –
     my dumb, blind worm.
     I offered wasted thoughts:

the worst teacher I ever had,
     the first girl I dated,
     my DI in boot camp.

Ah yes, the silent worm
     wouldn’t bite. It has had
     the taste of rich memories.

What will I think when my
     avaricious worm has
     devoured all that I cherish?

Smiling, I said to my family,
     “At the nadir of my night,
     place me on an iceberg.”

Wife and daughters smiled…”Dad,
     there won’t be any icebergs…
     global warming…you know?”

We laughed, embracing each other.
     Although I could not dismiss
     my worm, he can’t devour love.

Harry Lewis LeFever
August 19, 1929 – April 10, 2008

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