What do you see nurse? What do you see? What do you think when you look 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!’
She seems not to notice the things that you do, and is forever losing a sock or a shoe …
Resisting or not, lets you do as you will, with bathing or feeding, the long day to fill.
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 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 a lover she’ll meet.
A bride at twenty; my heart gives a leap, remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five I have young of my own, who need me to guide them; plus 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 check I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more, babes sit on my knees, again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead; I look at the future. 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’ve known.
I’m now an old woman … and nature is cruel. It’s a jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body crunbles, grace and vigor depart, there is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this carcass, a young girl still dwells, and now and again my battered heart 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, OPEN AND SEE, NOT A CRABBY OLD WOMAN; LOOK CLOSER, SEE ME.