Woe to hard working parents

Who struggled in the lean years

To provide corn dogs and swing sets

That seemingly cost a pittance

But stretched their budgets too thin


Woe to aging parents

Left alone in the name of independence

Rough and tough individuals

Too proud to raise their lonely voices

For their children to hear


Woe to their offspring

With lives of their own

Blind to the loneliness

That engulfs the aging parent

Wondering what has been left undone

Restrained by the self-love of children

Afraid to face the realities

Of loneliness, aging, death


Woe is me who followed the call to serve

In a strange new land

Transversed unknown waters

To find a culture of love and caring

That treasures the elderly

Counts blessings in caring for matua tausi

Alas! Unable to instill values now mine

In the hearts of my own siblings

I flounder  


Blessed are the elderly in traditional societies

Wrapped securely in blankets of communal care

Embraced warmly in the hearts and homes

Of family who prioritize their care

Above all

Sons, daughters, granddaughters, nieces

Lift the veil of loneliness

Pledge companionship and care

Never leave the elderly alone


Blessed too are the caregivers

Where ever they may be

Pulled away from lives of their own

By responsibilities of a higher kind

Companions, confidantes, and friends

Who hear the same stories time after time

Answer the same questions over and over

Soothe bodies, minds, and spirits  

Of those who await their final call home

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