Friday, February 1, 2013

An Old Lady’s Poem.

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meagre possessions, its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland.


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

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..

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 do 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 around 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; 
its joke to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart, 
and 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!!


  1. Hi Heron,

    It is a time that comes to all of us (if we live that long). Let us hope that we have someone who cares enough to put up with us when the time comes :)



  2. I will always love you. Try not to dribble too much though!!!!! Mrs Silent Owl

  3. I love you too, and I don't dribble (well may be a little)