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Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see nurses , what do you see?
What are you thinking when you look at me?

A crabbit old woman , not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with far away eyes
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply.
Then 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.
Unresisting or not , lets you do as you will
With bathing or 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 move at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten, with a father and mother
And brothers and sisters who love one another.
A 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 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 together with ties that forever should last.
At forty my young ones have grown up and gone,
But my man is beside me to see I don't mourn.

At fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee
Again we know children, my loved ones 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 I have known.

I am an old woman now, nature is cruel.
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart .
There is 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 crabbit old woman - look closer, see me.

This has a history to it, and probably was not written by the helpless women who is its subject. But worth a thought or two ...

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