See Me!

6/18/2010 11:45:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 7 Comments

See Me

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
Are you thinking, when you look at me-
A crabby old woman, not very wise, 
Uncertain of habit, with far-away 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, 
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will, 
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, you're looking at ME...
I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still;
As I rise at 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 now a lover she'll 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 build a secure, happy home;
A woman of thirty, my young now grow 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, 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 an old woman now and nature is cruel
'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body is crumbled, grave and vigor depart, 
There is now a stone where once I had a heart,
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells, 
And now and again my battered heart still swells.

I remember the joys, 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 I open your eyes, nurses, open and see, 
Not a crabby old woman, look closer, nurses - see ME! 

This poem was found amongst the possessions of an elderly lady who died in a geriatric hospital ward. No information is known about who she was, or how she died. We could all see a little more when we look at people. Thank you @WirralMums for reminding me of this poem. 

It's a message to remember; after all, one day we'll all be like Chuck or Aunty Betsy


The Shrink said...

Thanks for sharing that, it comes across as powerful and resonates with, sadly, how things often are.

The Shrink; I used to work in an admin role in the Department of Elderly Medicine. Every staff member was given a copy of that poem as part of their induction which really made everyone think.

Lankylonglegs-Jo said...

How incredibly poignant and oh how true those words are. What a fantastic poem this lady wrote, shame that nobody read it or found it until after she had passed so that she could have known how beautiful yet sad her words are.
I pray she rests in peace now alongside her beloved husband who passed before her.
Thank you SO much BG for sharing this with us.
Jo x

Watershedd said...

This is a truly lovely poem. A shame that whoever found it never recorded the name of the writer. Another depersonalisation.

Anonymous said...

This is lovely and was one of the things that inspired the poem 'she is' in this:

Fire Byrd said...

One of my favourite poems.
And I'm ashamed to say not one I was familiar with when I had to work on a geritric unit when I was 19. I hated it and them.
I think I have more tolerance and wisdom nowadays

An excellent poem, and a reminder that no one escapes the ravages of time. We all face it, everyday.