What do you think you see nurse
This poem was found on a scrap of paper in the bedside locker of an old lady shortly after she died in the geriatric ward of the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
I hope I’m not breaking any rules by sharing it with you all
What do you think you see, nurse, what do you think you see?
Are you thinking when you look at me-
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far away eyes,
Who dribbled 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 is forever losing a stocking, a shoe,
Who unrosisting or not lets you do, as you will
With pushing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you are thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes nurse, your not looking at me,
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I move at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with father and mother;
Brothers and sisters who love one and other;
A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;
A bride soon at twenty my heart gives a leap
Remembering the vows I promised to keep;
At twenty-five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure happy home;
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast
Bound to each with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons now grown, will be gone,
But my man stays beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At fifty, once more babies play around 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.
My young are all too busy rearing young of their own
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m just an old woman now and nature is cruel,
‘Tis her jest to make old age look a fool.
The body crumbles, grace and vigour depart.
There is now a stone where once was my heart.
But inside this old body a young girl still dwells
And now again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I am loving and living all over again.
And I think of all the years all too few…gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing will last
So, open your eyes, nurse, open and see
Not a crabbit old woman, look closer – see me!
Untitled and unknown author
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