Schultz, Philip

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Apr-08-2002


The poem begins, "In the beginning it visits / your mother like a polite / but somewhat unobtrusive stranger / whose silence . . . is vaguely disturbing." Later, Alzheimer’s is there all the time. Eventually, it takes over the mind and starts spreading disinformation. In the end communication breaks down. "There is no present . . . " There are only fragments of memories and "her dreamy knuckle clicking / on tables as if in answer to someone’s knocking." [32 lines]


There are two visitors in this poem. The first is Alzheimer’s disease, which begins as an occasional visitor, but eventually moves in and takes over. The second is a son visiting his mother over a period of time and observing the effects of the disease. There isn’t much ambiguity here, but the poem features a fine series of similes early on (lines 4-8) and a shattering final image (lines 29-32).


Preface by Richard Wilbur

Primary Source

Sixty Years of American Poetry


Henry N. Abrams

Place Published

New York




Robert Penn Warren