Do You See Me?

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 would 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’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 build
a secure happy home.
A young woman of thirty
my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other
with ties that should last:
At forty my young ones
now grown will soon 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 at the future
I shudder with dread,
For my young are all busy
rearing 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 vigor depart,
There now is a stone
Where once I 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 crabbit old woman,
Look closer – see ME!

Kate who wrote this poem, had been seen by the nurses,  “scribbling notes in her cubicle” shortly before she died.  This poem was found in her cubicle as it was cleaned out after her death.



Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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