Golden: An Anniversary Poem

The gold band stays the same,
a bit warped maybe,
the edges worn down,
some scratches.
Still hugging my ring finger
since the day
you put it there
round about an age ago.
Like your love,
still surrounding me
these many years,
still holding me
still cherishing me
still honouring me.

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God at the Last

At the last kiss,

at the final true laugh,

at the bottom of the body’s decline,

at the mind’s last conscious thought,

at the moment when love vanishes,

at the end of all remembering,

be the God at the last.

Be the God of wrinkled bodies and stooped shoulders,

the God of vacant eyes and open mouths,

the God of incontinence and shaking.

Be the God who holds the hand,

the God who soothes the brow,

the God who whispers words of comfort

and the God who hums a lullaby

until the last sleep falls.

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Prayer for the End of my Life

O God of ages,
be with me in my old age.
When death stares me in the face,
back me up.
When sickness diminishes my powers
and I become someone I don’t recognize,
know me through and through.
When my fears consume me,
be a steady centre.
Eternal God, lover of us all,
stay close to my side.
As you knit me together in my mother’s womb,
watch tenderly over this unravelling.
My self, loosed from independent living,
loosed from mobility,

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Dementia 2

Crippled by a mind

that sees menace in every corner

and malice in every look,

the anguished soul cries, “No more.”

At the last,

her sigh a white flag,

cheek resting on her hand,

weary beyond measuring,

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Dementia 1

Today I’m praying for one

imprisoned in their own mind,

locked behind bars of anguish

that no key can open.

Are you the God of the disordered mind?

Do you watch as ropes of anxiety

already tight pull tighter still,

making death seem a sweet release?

When being is misery, Lord,

the gift of life is torture.

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Age-old Chorus

In the hospital for sick seniors

each pillow cradles a face 

framed with white hair

underscored by bony knuckles

clutching white sheets.

Bodies, getting older together

join in a choir of symptoms;

the deep voice of bones broken

the tenor of organs failing

the soft alto of senses dulling

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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