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-