“What the World Needs Now

This is a video of 90 year-old Dr. Richard Morgan, retired Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania, well known author and esteemed founder of the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition reading a poem by Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN, “What the World Needs Now,” at a dementia conference for chaplains and other clergy at Redstone Highlands in Greensburg, PA on May 8, 2019.

“I don’t need you to try and fix me,” he muttered,
“or tell me everything’s all right, because it’s not.
What I need is for you to be here.
I need you, not your medicine or advice.
Presence, not pat answers. Do you see?
Bearing with me. Listening. Hearing.
Trying to know how it feels here.
I need you to look at me, even if
I have to look away.
To be my mirror, reflecting everything but shame.
It’s dark here. But there must be light for reflecting, right?
I need you to bring light to this darkness.
You don’t have to be a hero, a winner, all put-together.
I need to hear you say my name. The name I’m named in my soul.
Whisper it to me. Will you do this? Do you know that name?
Whisper it again ’til you see me turning around. Looking up.
Please, you don’t need to bring me anything.
Empty hands are better to hold.
See? What I need for you to do
is bring God in here, into this empty, dimly lit room.
That’s right. God. The Light where God is.
And the mercy they say shows up in rooms like this.
Will you come and bring those things to me?
I hope only for this.”

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Artwork produced by a person living with dementia and student partners in the Bringing Art to Life program from Cognitive Dynamics Foundation

2 thoughts on ““What the World Needs Now

  1. Ed,
    Your poems run deep and pull at my heartstrings. Your writing and Lester’s paintings take me back to my grandfather and uncle who both had Alzheimer’s. The importance of personhood and living in the moment, celebrating flashes of humanity and celebrating the gift of togetherness even when you understand it better than your loved one brings tears and smiles to my eyes. It’s an incredible thing you are doing. I’m now developing senior living with dementia care and I say, “Bravo, Doc -bravo!” God bless you, Hal

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