Saturday, 30 April 2011

Crabby Old Woman

A good friend of mine sent this across to me the other day. Please read it all the way through.
When an old woman died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were
made and distributed to every nurse in hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem.  

Crabby Old Woman

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food
 and makes no reply
when you say in a loud voice,
'I do wish you'd try!'

Who seems not to notice
the things that you do,
A stocking or shoe?
Who, resisting or not,
Lets you do as you will,
with bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you are thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You are not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I am a small child of ten
 with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen
with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now
 a lover she will meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows
that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide
and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other
with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons
have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me
To see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
my husband is dead,
I look at the future,
and I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing
Young of their own,
And I think of the years
And the love that I have known.

I am now an old woman
And nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigour depart,
There is now a stone
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I am loving and living
Life over again.

I think of the years
 all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
 that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer. . SEE ME!

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