What do you see?
"What do you, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when 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,
and forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then, open your eyes . . .
you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
as I do your bidding, as I eat (at) your will.
I'm a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
brothers and sisters who love one another.
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bird soon at 20, my heart gives a leap,
remembering the vows (that) I promised to keep.
At 25 now, I have young of my own,
who need me to build a secure, happy home.
A woman of 30, my young . . . grows fast,
bound to each other with ties that should last.
At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At 50, 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 to the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing (the) young of their own,
and I think of the years and the love I have known.
I'm an old woman now, and nature is cruel.
'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles; grace and vigor depart.
There (now is) a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
and now and again, my heart (truly) swells.
I remember the joy, I remember the pain,
and I'm 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, nurses, and see . . .
Not a crabby old woman, look closer, see me."
-Author Unknown-or-Is She-
Nov 16, '01
What happened to the replies to this thread?
Nov 16, '01
Interesting isn't it night owl since it is appropriate for this Nursing specialty.
Nov 20, '01
I think that is a very interesting poem about the elderly and what it says is true. As how many of the Nurses that care really think they the old people were LIKE US, Young, happy, ect. I know that I do. cause the way I see the Elderly are PEOPLE THAT WENT THROUGH A WAR FOR US MAYBE 2 WARS. We need to remember that as well when they are not having the best of days. We souldnt moan cause if it wasnt for then WE wouldnt be here, and yes they had a life but it was HARD VERY HARD, Nowadays we have things handed to us on a plate THEY DIDNT. IT WAS WORK WORK THEN WAR. Just remember that, THEY HAD A LIFE TOO.
Nov 22, '01
I've seen this poem, with a brief addition that it was found in an old lady's belongings after she had passed away, supposedly in a hospital in Scotland. Whatever its origins, it carries a powerful message for everyone.
Dec 15, '01
This was printed in our monthly newsletter for the nursing home where I work --- I think it's so great and so true. After what most of the elderly have been through and seen in their life time -- aren't they entitled to a few crabby days?? Not to mention the pain some (most) of them are in due to arthritis, etc.
I sure think so and I will just keep right on loving them!! Have you ever taken the time to read the history on some of your residents? I've only done so a little, and am amazed at what some have been through. My grandmother, bless her heart, has advanced alzheimer's and spends most of her time remembering the good ole days when she was a child. Unfortunately for her, they were not good days at all and remembering them now makes her bitter and angry. But that's all she's got anymore is those memories --- she doesn't know any of us anymore, most of the time not even her own son. And if we'd only take the time to really know the person --- we'd see way beyond the crabby old lady, and see so much more!!