11 October 2017

The Mansion Poetry Workshop: “The Second Home,” First Draft

The Second Home

We had our second poetry workshop meeting at the Mansion today, poet Jackie Thorne and me and eight Mansion residents.

We worked on a poem entitled "Second Home," and we wrote it together, as a class. The themes that emerged from this poem were powerful, they focused on acceptance, ambivalence, safety and gratitude. The class is quiet, they listen, but as the time passed, they became more emotional and open.

We are hoping to explore the process of aging, and living in a community of people at the edge of life. Hopefully, we can publish another book, the first, Tales Of The Manson, is in its 3rd printing.

The poem title the residents proposed was "Second Home," exploring the idea of a second home and what that experience means.

This is where we are so far:

Second  Home

This is not our first home,

we are no longer free to roam.

We miss our dogs, we miss our family.

But we are safe, we are protected,

we are a place for people with nowhere to go.

The food is wonderful, plentiful,

we are never hungry,

we never have to cook.

This is where we live,

it is just home now,

just where we are,

we accept our lives.

We know one another,

we care for each other,

and we are grateful,

our laundry is done for us,

there is always someone to turn to.

This is our life.

If you don't accept life,

you are up the creek.

This will always be our home now,

our last home.

We are thankful here,

we've got everything that's ordinary.

Some of us have been places

where that is not the truth.

I like this poem, it is honest and powerful. It's a good first start. They are eager to work on it until it is done.

In  two weeks (after our trip to New Mexico, Jackie and I will return to the Mansion and finish this poem, and then begin another, which the residents have titled "Growing Older." I am looking forward to that. I am supplying each of the workshop attendees with books of contemporary poems.

Note to the Army Of Good. Halloween is coming in a couple of weeks, and decorations for the Mansion Halloween Christmas Party will be much appreciated.

On October 30, we are hosting an October Fest lunch catered by the Round House Cafe for 30 residents an aides. Your letters and messages are much appreciated. I am exploring sending four Mansion residents to see the "Beach Boys" concert at the Proctor Theater in Schenectady, N.Y. on November 14. I will cost about $400.

Your donations would help them get there.

The donations to the Mansion Fund are much appreciated. You can send them to my post office box, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, or via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com.

The current list of Mansion residents who wish to receive messages are Art, Brother Peter, Winnie, Jean, Ellen, Mary, Gerry, Sylvie, Jane, Diane, Alice, Jean, Madeline, Joan, Allan, Bill, John K, Helen, Connie, Bob, Alanna, Barbara, Peggie, Dorothy, Tim, Arthur, Guerda, Brenda, John Z.

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