Grumpy old fart!!!

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."

Look Closer


Look Closer

What do you see, what do you see?
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
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 loosing a stocking or shoe.
Who, unresisting or not; lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding the long day is fill.
Is that what you’re thinking,
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,
Nurse, you’re looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still!
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who loved one another-
A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet,
A bride 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 now grow 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 once more babies play around 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 an old woman now and nature is cruel-
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body is crumbled, grace and vigour 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 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, nurse, open and see,
Not a crabbit old woman, look closer-
See Me.


 This poem has had several titles, “Crabbit Old Woman”, “Look Closer Nurse”, “Look Closer”, “Open Your Eyes” and “What Do You See?” to name a few. All of which have their place but personally I prefer the title “Look Closer”, it asks us to do just that.

Originally published in 1973 the author was unknown, but it was suggested that it may have been written by an elderly lady in nursing home and was found amongst her belongings by nursing staff after her death but attributed to Phyllis McCormack. According to an article from the Daily Mail on 12th March 1998, Phyllis McCormack’s son claims that his mother wrote it while working at the Sunnyside Hospital in Montrose in the 1960s, where she submitted it anonymously to a small magazine intended just for Sunnyside with the title “Look Closer Nurse”. The poem paints a bleak picture of the care often received by elderly people in care settings, of regimentation and lack of humanity. Barton (1976) “Institutional Neurosis” suggests that the organisation becomes preoccupied with the rituals and symbols, ignoring the original purpose of that institution. The institution becomes valued above the purpose it was founded to serve. With this Government’s proposed cuts to the Health Service and Social Services, this may become more of a reality despite the best efforts of care staff.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Deltiology, Maid, Maids, Servants, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nuns shopping

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Nun, Servants, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gertrude Elliott (Rotary 7438 D)

Gertrude Elliott

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Deltiology, Gertrude Elliott, Maid, Maids, Servants, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment