“ If Memory Fails ” – guide me to a shelter –

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“ If Memory Fails ”

            – guide me to a shelter –

Now that you’re here

Will you see I not falter,

As in time I yet fear

Fate chose not to alter,

Thence I might know

As age won’t be kinder,

And if memory fails

Thus with love you offer,

I pray the gods avail

Find you to be there

To guide me to a shelter…


Now that you’re near

A joy you be each day,

Tho I no longer hear

An easy voice at play,

Be yours ever so dear

Now fading far away,

Near muted to my ear

Save recall ere so clear,

Retention can but stay

Tho memory fades away…


Alas serenity assured

The while you be there,

With music you so speak,

There is sanity you bring

That has my world sing,

And does but so relieve

That foreboding cling,

For you are to be here  

A prompt ever so clear

Keeping mind yet sane,

The while if memory fails

Life destined be our bane,

Tho your love will still remain!

                               ode to my mother and father…                                                                

                                       © Jean-Jacques Fournier


13 thoughts on ““ If Memory Fails ” – guide me to a shelter –

  1. There is a profound poignancy in your words, Jean-Jacques. Memories give us structure, a personal history. There are moments that our forever embedded in our hearts, all senses aware: the smell of freshly baked bread, holding our child for the first time, the sunrise after a dark night. “If memory fails…guild me to a shelter” brought tears to my eyes as I just learned that my favourite aunt has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When we are unable to remember, may we have someone who can guild us.

  2. Like I said, an old story but the variety personal experiences the like is endless and as you say they are embedded in each of us, to be ultimately responsible for the eventual fabric of our being, that we must live with for better or for worse throughout our allocated time of life… Thanks, Rebecca!

  3. Your poignant poem reminded me so much of my parents. After a heart attack, my dad suffered short-term memory loss, which presented as dementia. My mother was his anchor to the world, as you say, guiding him to a shelter every day for the rest of his life.

    • I hadn’t expected or even given this poem that much credence when I first wrote it. I suppose because it was originally inspired by something I’d read, sad enough to write about the effects as I visualized them on people in general face with these kinds of tragedies. But as I wrote and rewrote, the normality of composing poetry, it became personal what with the constant recall of father, and mother’s involvement… Ergo, the creation of If Memory Fails!
      Thanks you, Liz…

    • Thank you, Robin,

      It was written some time ago, but has become more important, at least the idea and the purpose of it, as time shortens at an ever-increasing speed. I’ve by now long surpassed the early stages that my parents’ lives. They who lived that sorry experience, with my father’s ill-fated health, starting at age 36, for an agonizing life that would end his daily torture 3 years later. I wasn’t much more than a child then, though such circumstances has one grow up at high speed, and the memory of it all remains vivid to this day… ego this poem took on a revived life.

      Pleased that you liked it so much, you who has been surrounded by poetry all your life!



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