In the Nursing Home
The power of rewriting our stories
In this submission, Elizabeth “Like” Lokon engages with Jane Kenyon’s poem, “In the Nursing Home,” by adding a stanza of her own to the end. Lokon works at the intersection of art, education, and dementia care, and she regularly takes students to nursing homes. In the midst of the poem’s themes of aging, death, and acceptance, she found herself reflecting on the need for supportive relationships at the end of life and thought, “Let’s find her a friend.” The video includes Like’s ending. And Jane Kenyon’s original poem (unaltered) is below.
In the Nursing Home
Created by Elizabeth “Like” Lokon
In The Nursing Home
She is like a horse grazing
a hill pasture that someone makes
smaller by coming every night
to pull the fences in and in.
She has stopped running wide loops,
stopped even the tight circles.
She drops her head to feed; grass
is dust, and the creekbed’s dry.
“Master, come with your light
halter. Come and bring her in.”
Reflect and Practice
This submission picks up a reflective technique of entering into dialogue with a poem by adding a stanza of one’s own at the end. “You can use whatever poem,” Lokon says. “And it’s a useful technique for engaging discussion, rather than simply altering the poem’s aesthetic or message.”
Here is the additional stanza she wrote in response to “In the Nursing Home”:
And find her a friend
Who needs to know
What lies beyond the hill pasture
How might you use this technique of bringing your experiences into conversation with poetry as a practice of writing our own stories?
Offer your responses and see those of others’ below:
Return to the main page of the Cogenerational Social Healing Collection, a collaboration between On Being and CoGenerate.
You can also explore crowd-sourced submissions, or share your own, in our Community Garden (best experienced on desktop or in the Miro mobile app).
Videography by Ian McCue
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