Poetry by an Elder: Green House homes bring hope

By / Posted on April 14th, 2015

 Helen M Rausch is a member of a creative writing group at The New Jewish Home, Manhattan division. In this poem, she expresses her feelings of hope for The 22 Green House homes that are being built by the organization.  

Marooned

on a desert island
with only a tree and
a book
for company–
a fairy godmother
happened by–
“I’ve helped you all your
life”, said she
“What magic can I perform
now, as you lean
against this tree, isolated,
with only a book
to entertain you?” “Water,
water,” I cried, “preferably
with ice!
and a slice of lemon, please,
to titillate my taste buds!”
“You’re granted THREE wishes,”
she explained . . .
“You’re down to one!–
What will it be?” (Don’t forget–
there’s only me, the deep blue
sea . . . and the single tree!)
“What will your third wish be?”
“A room of my own”, I said loudly,
“with space for books, and a
window view (a terrace, too?)”
Stymied, but only temporarily,
she granted my wishes three,
but said, “The third will have to wait
for the Green House building
on 97th Street”*

*I could, by way of a third, have
asked for unlimited wishes, but
we all know reality . . .

-Helen M. Rausch
April 2015, Creative Writing Group

helenAt age 85, Helen is devoting more time than ever before to poetry. Although she was a Creative Writing major at Queens College, Flushing, New York (close to where she grew up), she only began to pursue her “true calling” (writing poetry) in her mid-fifties. She is also developing another important interest, painting with acrylics, at The New Jewish Home, Manhattan Division. The Home is actively seeking to incorporate new approaches based on the Green House model into its practices.

She earned a doctorate at Columbia’s Teachers College, and pursued a varied career in early childhood education and teacher education. She has enjoyed travel over the years, and spent five wonderful retirement years working at Yellowstone Park. She is currently president of the Resident Council at the Home, and has been very active in the development of the residents’ newsletter.