Words From The Heart

A Poem Found in A Hospital Locker

What do you see nurses, what do you see?

Are you thinking when you are looking at me -

A crabbit 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 are not looking at me.

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

As I use at your bidding and eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,

Brother and sisters that love one another.

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet

Dreaming that soon her 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 with each other with ties that should last.



At forty, my young sons, now will be gone

But my man stays 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 to the future, I shudder with dread,

For my young are all busy raising young of their own,

And I think of the years and the love I have known.

I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel.

'Tis her 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 in this old carcase 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 all over again.

And I think of the years, all too few - gone too fast

And accept the stark fact that nothing will last.

So open your eyes nurses, open and see

Not a crabbit old woman, look closer, see me!


Mrs Cowen - a nurse found this poem in a bedside locker after the death of an old lady in hospital - she believes it should be published for all to read. Real food for thought!