Crabby Old woman

fairegoldJune 29, 2006

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. 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.

The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health.

A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:

Crabby Old Woman .............

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 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 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 vigor 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, people,

Open and see,

Not a crabby old woman;

Look closer . . . see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush

aside without looking at the young soul within . .. . we will all,

oneday, be there, too!

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Wow. That belongs with the best of Bill V's posts...

This will sound strange, but you know what has really helped me see this clearly: our cats. I didn't know my mom when she was a child of 5, etc...but as an adult (I wasn't allowed to have pets as a child) I have known my cats from kittenhood til old age and it's given me a much clearer sense of the whole arc of life. I'm glad that our daughter has known her cats too and seen them through disease, health, and even disease unto death. Kids who get to see this probably have a much clearer and probably more respectful sense of the journey we are all taking. When I saw my dear Bounder drag himself up on his last day of life, out of his hiding place (after a couple of years of administering fluids, cleaning up barf and excrement, doling out meds, taking him to the ER--all the kinds of stuff we do for our elders) and seek me out basically to put his head up against mine one last time, I could also see the little kitten I brought home from the shelter only a few years earlier, it seemed...and it's helped me to look at senior humans and see the kittens inside as well. Another gift our four-legged dear ones give us.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:43PM
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I've seen that poem before and it never fails to make me cry. I see my Mother's eyes in that post.

There was a post recently at the KT that kind of upset me, so I posted this as a spin off post as a reminder for all of us to be less judgemental, more tolerant and compassionate for all humanity (and our four-legged fur-babies as well.

Here's the link to the post, if anyone else cares to read it.

Blessings ~~ katclaws

Here is a link that might be useful: Spin Off Post ( at the KT)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 11:48PM
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Thanks very much. I agree. There are plenty of rude stupid people in the world, but it would be a shame if we all lowered ourselves to their level. If we cannot set a good example, then what can we expect?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 11:56PM
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Thanks so much for sharing that Fairegold...certainly gives one something to ponder and shed a few tears over...thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 5:43PM
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