Friday, February 24, 2012

Poem "See Me"

I watched a video in class today that was simply stunning and beautiful that it brought me to tears.  The video was of a reenactment of a poem written by an anonymous elder living in a nursing home on a piece of paper that was found in the garbage and later published.

Love our elderly population and embrace their wisdom people, we have a lot to learn from them!!

“See Me”

"What do you, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when 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.

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then, open your eyes . . .
you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
as I do your bidding, as I eat (at) your will.

I'm a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
brothers and sisters who love one another.

A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.

A bird soon at 20, my heart gives a leap,
remembering the vows (that) I promised to keep.

At 25 now, I have young of my own,
who need me to build a secure, happy home.

A woman of 30, my young . . . grows fast,
bound to each other with ties that should last.

At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.

At 50, 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 to the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing (the) 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 I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
and now and again, my heart (truly) swells.
I remember the joy, 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, and see . . .
Not a crabby old woman, look closer, see me."

-Author Unknown


  1. Interestingly enough, this poem was passed around in my nursing class back in 1976.... :)

    It's been around for a long time for a reason... :)

    Very touching.

  2. Funny, this exact poem is being taught in our Gerontology class.