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Crabby Old Women



 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 meagre 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 theworld, 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
!!


 (Well i really donot know if the story is true….it came as a forward to me. I am sure it is not going to cange my life but what i has done for sure is, a change in perspective when I see an elderly lady again.
Thinking about it aloud…I fell it has a lot to do with our Halo in life….we percive things in life rather than interpret the perceptions. The root cause of all hate and prejidice is because we react on what we see rather than interpret what we are seeing.
I imagin the the lady in her hospital bed waiting for the inevitable and pleading to interpret her for what she was rather than what she is……but i guess she is asking the wrong set of animals that we call humans,who have somewhere down the line lost the ability of interpretaion of reality.)

Source of the Photograph

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Categories: Poetry
  1. July 19, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Touching!………and true. Old age is scariest truth i”ve always felt. How we all wish and pray, that we be taken while we still walk on our feet and carry our bodily functions with discretion and grace. Death is easy! Its the age that”s so trying. Nay?

  2. July 7, 2006 at 5:16 am

    This one wrenched me!

  3. June 19, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    Brilliant post. People need to think more about the real person inside every person. We all are usually fooled by exteriors. sage.rediffiland.com

  4. June 19, 2006 at 12:00 am

    Fascinated.When will the creatures named humans open their eyes?
    Alas, we believe we won”t get old or die ever in this ”mechanised” world.

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