See Me

This poem was found in a nursing home, written by an anonymous resident. It’s been made into a short film, which I saw in class today. Take some time and read it through – it’s worth a ponder or two.

See Me

What do you see, nurses, what do you see,

what are you thinking when you’re 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.

Who, resisting 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 not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

as I use 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 guide and 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 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 now an old woman and nature is cruel;

’tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,

there is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,

and now and again my battered heart 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 open your eyes, nurses, open and see,

not a crabby old woman; look closer – see me!!

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2 Responses to See Me

  1. Weasel says:

    Makes me think of Piet Hein,

    Who wrote this.:

    MEMENTO VIVERE
    Love while you’ve got
    love to give.
    Live while you’ve got
    life to live.

    More of his translated work can be found here.

  2. Grizelda says:

    Making time

    If only all nursing staff would take that one to heart… No, let me re-state, if only all of us would take that to heart I think our seniors could be a happier lot! One of the main reasons I didn’t stay in nursing was because as a staff member I spent so much time telling people I didn’t have time to stop to talk to them, and I hated that. However, being conscious of this, it is possible to make time on occasion.

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