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Tuesday
May182010

On Volunteerism (1987)

On Volunteerism

 

There are not many who carry the name--ombudsman,

If I were from Sweden,

Maybe more would understand that I know.

 

Perhaps, in the moment of my birth,

It was somewhere decided,

That my time could not belong to me alone.

 

John Adams was an advocate,

His time was not his either,

And I want to point out that Quincy is in Massachussetts.

 

When I say the word "volunteer,"

Sometimes I think of agreeing

To clean erasers for my second-grade teacher.

 

When I say the word "volunteer,"

Sometimes I think of Miss C.

Or Mr. L.

 

They have told me that they are the last in their family.

They have told me that they look for me each week.

They have told me "thank-you" for helping them.

 

It may not be much like

"My wheelchair squeaks," or

"I can't find my glasses."

 

But in my time that I cannot claim alone,

I say, what else can I do for

The last representative of a family tree?

 

When I carry the name of ombudsman,

I do not drop it off when I

Leave the nursing home door.

 

I am a part of that union,

I know that others across the state

Are knocking on doors as I am.

 

John Adams would say COMMITTMENT!

Instead, I say

Representative of the People.

 

 

(written in honor of nursing home Ombudsmen at South Shore Elder Services, Braintree, Mass., 1987)

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