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Look Closer, See Me ..

What do you see nurse, what do you see?

What 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 wish you would try”.
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Who unresisting or not, let’s 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 looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
As I muse 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 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 grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons now grown and will all soon be gone,
But my man stays 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 and dread.
For my young are all busy, 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,
It is her joke to make old age look like a fool.
The body it crumbles, strength and vigour depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside 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.
I think of the years all too few and gone too fast,
And I accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes nurse, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman, look closer, see me!

( This poem was written by a woman in a hospital geriatric ward..
And was found by a nurse after the lady had died ).

The Nurse’s Reply ..

What do we see, you ask, what do we see?
Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee.
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss,
But there’s many of you, and too few of us.
We would like far more time to sit by you and talk,
To bath you and feed you and help you to walk.
To hear of your lives and the things you have done,
Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.
But time is against us, there’s too much.
Patients too many, and nurses too few.

We grieve when we see you so sad and alone,
With nobody near you, no friends of your own.
We feel all your pain, and know of your fear,
That nobody cares now your end is so near.
But nurses are people with feelings as well,
And when we’re together you’ll often hear tell
Of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed,
And the lovely old Dad, and the things that he said.

We speak with compassion and love, and feel sad
When we think of your lives and the joy that you’ve had.
When the time has arrived for you to depart,
You leave us behind with an ache in our heart.
When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care,
There are other old people, and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and fuss,
There are many of you, and so few of us.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I love this poem , it breaks my heart every time I read it but is a true reminder of how quickly life passes . I hope if I make it to old age that someone nice cares & sees ME !!

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