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lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: kimberely (192.168.128.---)
Date: October 30, 2006 01:02PM

Am trying to find a poem, author unknown. Supposedly found after death of little old lady.
Content is something like, when you see me you see an old woman but was a child once, a young girl in love, a woman with babies to raise, etc.
Generally it's a plea to health care workers to have compassion and remember the humanity of the person, not the disease/difficulty of old age..
Can anyone help?? We need to be reminded in Healthcare every once in awhile that the aged and infirm are some one's mother, daughter, sister, father, son brother etc......thanks.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: October 30, 2006 02:37PM

One of these perhaps? [www.nursesareangels.com] />
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 missing 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, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer ... see ME!!


Les

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/30/2006 02:39PM by lg.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: kimberely (192.168.128.---)
Date: October 31, 2006 09:13AM

thats the exact poem.. thank you so much..


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: gillyflower (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 07, 2006 01:17PM

The poem is called "Look closer" and it's by Phyllis McCormack. I have the word "crabbit" instead of "crabby."


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 07, 2006 01:31PM

Could you tell us your source for the author? All the sites on the web I saw showed it to be anon. Also, crabbit makes no sense in that last line.


Les


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 07, 2006 03:13PM

[www.google.com] />
'crabbit' is Scottish dialect for 'crabbed' which means the same as 'crabby' - i.e. irritable, cantankerous


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 07, 2006 06:32PM

'crabbit' is Scottish dialect for 'crabbed' which means the same as 'crabby' - i.e. irritable, cantankerous


Ian, if the note which accompanied this poem can be believed, the poem was found in an American nursing home for the aged. No other words in the poem show the author to be of Scottish descent, why throw in a very esoteric Scottish word, when the American/English equivalent fits fine?


Les


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 07, 2006 07:19PM

Les, 'crabbit' isn't so esoteric for someone of Scottish descent, especially for a poet who presumably wanted to choose just the right old-fashioned word for an old woman. For all I know, it may be Irish dialect as well as Scottish.

There has been some controversy over the authorship and provenance of the poem, and lots of myths about it being found in nursing homes all over the place (of which its attribution to an American nursing home seems to be just another one), but there is some evidence that it was written in Ireland by an Irish nurse.

[www.uea.ac.uk] />
[www.google.com]

Ian


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 07, 2006 10:03PM

My point, Ian, is that nowhere else in the poem is there any Scottish dialect, why only that word?


Les

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2006 10:04PM by lg.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: gillyflower (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 08, 2006 07:00AM

Apparently also called "Kate" or "Crabbit old woman" If you google Phyllis McCormack or "crabbit old woman" you can find out more. I first copies it out from an anthology many moons ago, but never recorded the anthology's name. By the way what a lovely word "crabbit" is!


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 08, 2006 09:47AM

nowhere else in the poem is there any Scottish dialect, why only that word?

I'm not clear what point you are making, Les. Do you mean that 'crabbit' is too anomalous to have been in the original version of the poem; or do you mean that the English word 'crabby' would have been a better word choice? I prefer the uncommon word 'crabbit' because it helps to give individual character to the persona in the poem.

Or are you drawing some conclusion about whether the author probably was, or probably was not, Scottish (or Irish)?

Ian


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: marian2 (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 09, 2006 06:37AM

Don't you think that one odd Scottish word might indicate either that the old lady had travelled a lot and lost her original accent, with just occasional bits of vocabulary remaining - I've lived all over the Uk and use dialect words from Essex, the Midlands and Yorkshire quite indiscriminately at times - if she emigrated to America, she might easily only have a few remnants of Scots left, or even have picked them up from her parents. Alternatively, the nurses may be Scots or of Scottish descent and it could be that she is contrasting the words they'd use to describe her as she now is, with her own image of herself based on her life.

I like crabbit - it fits well.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: Desi (Moderator)
Date: December 10, 2006 11:58AM

I would agree, if only there would be more words like that in the poem. Now, I must say, I agree with Les, as it seems to be the only single word in dialect. That is either wrong, or bad poetry in my opinion.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: angies (81.109.128.---)
Date: December 03, 2007 06:54PM

this is the reply from the nurses thought you might be interested


A nurses reply
Dear little old lady, it's easy to see,
you know about you but not about me.
You think I am here for the profit and gain,
surrounded by aging and sickness and pain.
For you see here a woman, efficient and terse
with a neat little pin that proclaims she's a nurse.
And you look in my eyes to find out what I see,
but you too are neglecting to learn about me.
I know you are lonely and frightened and ill,
but you don't understand when I offer my skill.
And you don't realize that I want you to live
and I'm willing to help and to work and to give...
You wouldn't believe that each patient I see
is a projected picture of what I will be...
And you don't understand when I have to say "no"
that it isn't so easy although it won't show.
Or when pain is a part of the things I must do,
that pain is for me as well as for you.
I, too, am a woman--a maiden or wife,
with my even share of the burdens of life.
If I'm able to comfort or bring you a smile,
my day is complete and my job is worthwhile.
I bring you my hands and my head and my heart,
the gift of my nursing, my skill and my art.
Don't turn me away and don't hold back your trust,
for your faith in my love is an absolute must.
I will look at you always and ever will see,
not a crabbit old lady...just an extension of me.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: marian222 (86.148.162.---)
Date: December 04, 2007 11:11AM

Thanks for posting that, Angies - I already had one 'reply', see below, but I prefer yours!

A Nurses reply - - by Liz Hogben

What do we see, you ask, what do we see?
Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss
But there's many of you and too few of us.

We would like far more time to sit by you and talk
To bath you and feed you and help you to walk
To hear of your lives and the things you have done
Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.

But time is against us, there's too much to do -
Patients too many and nurses too few
We grieve when we see you so sad and alone
With nobody near you, no friends of your own
We feel all your pain, and know of your fear
That nobody cares now your end is so near.

But nurses are people with feelings as well
And when we're together you'll often hear tell
Of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed
And the lovely old Dad and the things that he said
We speak with compassion and love, and feel sad
When we think of your lives and the joy that you've had.

When the time has arrived for you to depart
You leave us behind with an ache in our heart
When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care
There are other people, and we must be there
So please understand if we hurry and fuss
There are many of you and too few of us!!


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: Shylock (59.101.170.---)
Date: May 14, 2008 09:25AM

I'm a nurse who trained in Northern Ireland during the troubles [ around 1970's ] and I rememebr seeing this poem on the one of the walls in the geriatric wing of my training hospital - I also remember another poem, entitled "the Beatitudes by someone who is old" I think I still have those words somewhere if you're interested?


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: marian222 (86.155.36.---)
Date: May 14, 2008 05:35PM

Yes, please, we'd like them.


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: Shylock (59.101.222.---)
Date: May 14, 2008 09:00PM

Hi Marion, I started hunting for my old excercise book in which I've kept many favourite poems including "the beatitudes for someone who is old" but it wasn't where I expected it to be, so please be patient as I search the house for it.........a busy day today but hopefully over the weekend I will get a little more time I KNOW I saw it quite recently! [its a book I've carted around since I was 16 - and that was close to 40 yrs ago!]


Re: lost poem, Irish? nurses when you look at me
Posted by: marian222 (86.155.36.---)
Date: May 15, 2008 04:25AM

Hi Shylock - I seem to spend half my life looking for things I've mislaid - and for individual poems within my files and books which I can't remember the location, title or first line of, but remember the gist - usually I find a poem I've given up on rather than the one in question.
It's nice to know I'm not the only one with this problem! I look forward to reading the beatitudes when they turn up.




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