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  • Writer's pictureClaire Champion

Innocence Melts Loneliness

This week – 12th to 18th June - has seen the marking of Loneliness Awareness Week, organised by the Marmalade Trust. They are (as yet) the only UK charity raising awareness about loneliness across the UK, and they are based in Bristol. The stark fact that we need to have a week to highlight loneliness and isolation should shock us all. However, this is where we find ourselves in 2023. Older people are probably the main demographic in society who suffer this sad and depressing state the most. How do we combat this crisis – in amongst all the other mental health issues that have gained terrible traction in recent years?

In 2019 I had watched a heartwarming and life-enhancing documentary – made by Channel 4 – called ‘Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds’. It moved me immeasurably as in the programme there was an experiment to see if bringing the generations together would help the senior citizens. It went beyond the normal scope of a reality show and gave the viewer a fresh insight, a true reflection of people’s feelings and also, ultimately, a trace of hope.

The programme inspired me to write the following poem, which I’m only now putting online. I would love to know your thoughts and feedback, so as ever please feel free to let me know in the ‘Comments’ section. If you are affected by loneliness or know someone who needs help, check out the work of the Marmalade Trust here.

Innocence Melts Loneliness

Humans, the species obsessed

and consumed by the ageing process.

Elixirs, false promises and pills that

people use to try to combat it but fail.

A child can make all of this facade

disappear in one easy gesture,

by skipping into an older person’s

arms, their life and their mind’s eye.

The connection that is created

sweeps all doubts away.

The older person can begin

somehow anew with fresh belief.

Fragments of families have tipped

the balance towards an age of loneliness.

Taking over 1 million UK seniors

out of the realm of social kindness.

The isolation creeps like a spectre

with ice-cold fingers beckoning Winter.

No comfort for the older men and women

even when Spring blossoms forth.

But if a child plants a seed in the garden

with the assistance of the older woman

or older man, the real meaning

and real feelings could grow once more.

The supposed golden days would be

embossed with genuine good grace.

Lost comfort from partners who’ve passed

would be replaced with the child’s smile.

Heart of youth to heart of age

united in the warmth, and splendid glow

that lights the faces of these generations.

Love held aloft on their shoulders.

Voice of youth to voice of age

issuing all joyous sounds and questions.

Lessons from one to the other learnt,

building beautiful memories for all time.

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