Monday, 13 April 2009

Crabby Old Woman - Young Soul Within

Food for thought......this is for all who have ever had anyone in a nursing home or older parents.....think as you read.

"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.

And now, this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is 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
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'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 older person whom you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. Remember, too: We will one day be there too"!

My 97 year old Aunty Mary and my 87 year old Mum (with hat) - March 2009 - Harbord Beach, Sydney. What a wonderful outing we had reminising about the 'old days'.


Fly Girl said...

I so love the photograph of your Aunty Mary and your mum. What spirit these two women seem to have. Even through the photo, it is evident!

The poem is touching and is a great reminder to look a little deeper at those around us. People of all ages, young and old, need us to see who they really are.

Thanks for sharing....


Sarah Lulu said...

The poem brought tears to my eyes.

I adore the photo of your very beautiful Mum and Auntie Mary.

I grew up at Avalon Beach and my daughter lived at Harbord Beach for about five years, I know it so well!

mscherrylane said...

...that picture at the top sure is creepy!

Wow Pegs you obviously have the blessing of "great preservation" and longevity in your family!!!

Yeah you can often see in older folks the young spirits within from the twinkle in their eye ;)

I think when I am truly old my eye will probably twinkle more than it does now!! Right now I feel OLD OLD OLD!!!! I guess I am living my life in reverse...

Dina said...

Beautiful poem.

Thank you so much for sharing it.

I need the reminder.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Peggy :) Such a lovely poem. I enjoy so much spending time with elderly people. They have so much wisdom to share about life :)
I often visit my 82-year old friend and always leave feeling that I've been given a treasure in the time I got to spend with her.
Thank you for's good to remember.
Have a Wonderful Day!

Loving Annie said...

Oh Miruspeg, that was such a moving poem, and so very true !

It's too easy to forget that an old body doesn't mean no past. And age happens to all of us, and ignoring who we reaaly are inside is a painful thing...

A touching picture of your family to, to underscore that !

Hope that you are having a good Easter weekend holiday :)

Jan said...

Hi Peggy, I had seen this poem somewhere else and and was so moved by it. I thought of the time my Dad spent in the nursing home. His caregivers would have had no idea what a proud, clever, intelligent, warm person he was before his decline. The piece also made me sad - because when I walk through a nursing home to see a friend, I have a difficult time speaking to and reaching out to the strangers sitting in their wheel chairs along the way. Each of them, of course, had a rich life before they ended up in the wheelchair. Thanks for bringing this piece to my attention again. I hope you're well and happy. Jan

miruspeg said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful, insightful comments.

Next time I see an "old" person I am going to smile and say hello....I always do this when I see a baby/small child and now I realise how important it is NOT to pass by these "young souls".


Anonymous said...

That is a great poem - I love chatting with old crinklies as they often have the most astonishing stories to tell. It looks as though you are blessed with long life in your family. Me too - my grandma was 97 when she died and my grandfather was 93. I'm kind of hoping that it's 'in the genes' as it means I have a good few years left (!)

Gill said...

WOW what a poem! But more for me is the photo of your Aunt and Mum. They look great. Wonderful wonderful post.x

mscherrylane said...

Hey Pegs! Thanks for putting those bookends up- they sure are cute!!

BTW just wondering which two Frida Kahlo's you have in your kitchen?? and when you say "paintings" you mean prints right...if not I SO HAVE TO SEE THESE! when I went to MOMA it was getting revamped and all the Frida stuff was away on a travelling exhibition...I was soooo diappointed!

Anonymous said...

A very sad and very true poem....I dread becoming that old woman in a nursing home!
However, the picture of your sprightly Aunt Mary with your equally lively-looking mother has given me hope!CJ

Anonymous said...

My mother could have wrote this! She is 75 and her body is failing...but her spirit is soaring. She says inside she feels 20 inside but her body feels old and painful. Thankfully, she is happier than she has ever been...

Lilly said...

Peggy, this is so true and more people should read the poem too. My mother wrote a book about her father and it started off with a poem about him in the nursing home and along very similar lines to this one. Being in a nusrsing home in Dundee is cruel. Love the picture of your mother and Aunty. They look happy and healthy.

SILVER said...

that is why i am so fearful of growing old.. what we seee from the eyes of our heart do not reflect what people see when they look at us.. age lines, wrinkled skin, ..but if only one they could look deeper into the souls of these precious seniors..

it's not fair that we tend to get rejected simply by virtue of our age..but this is life. We see it happening all the time.