All of us see through different eyes. The bias we were taught when we were just kids has colored our seeing ability throughout life. We see what we are taught. We don’t mean to harm our children, but our fears, our phobias, our general outlook on life are mostly shaded by our first few formative years of teaching by example.
The alarming feature of this present generation are how little concern they seem to have for their elders, the older folks in the family. When we were young, the young cared for the old. Old people died in their own homes, cared for by their own family. Times change as people change. Just visit most any advanced care unit, or nursing home and feel the sadness, witness the waste, the lack of family love and concern.
Some 20 years ago, when I was in mid-life years, I was given a poem to read. It was impressive but not that much, for I was still in the rush of life, buying things and getting ahead. Today, I read it again, and the weight of many years brought tears to my eyes. How can we be so blind, so hurtful, so unconcerned about the ones who bore us, raised us, sacrificed for us, paid the bills for university and college days that we might have a better chance at life than they had. So the following poem is dedicated to all those folks who feel neglected and misunderstood. Read it slowly, carefully, prayerfully, and hope that the autumn days and winter of our lives will be better for us.
What do you see people, 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 far away eyes.
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, “I wished you’d try”.
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Who unresisting or not lets you do as you will,
With bathing or feeding the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking – is that what you see?
Then open you’re eyes, you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still:
As I use at you’re bidding and eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brother and sister 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 build a secure happy home:
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast
Bound to each other with ties that should last:
At forty, all my young have grown and are gone,
My man’s still beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more babies play at 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 shutter with dread:
My young are all rearing young of their own,
I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
Now I’m an old woman and nature is cruel,
‘Tis her jest to make me look like a fool.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor departs,
I have a stone, where I once had a heart.
Inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells:
Now and again my battered heart swells,
I remember the joys; I remember the pain,
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.”
Note: While the name of the author is unknown, the poem was found in a small bundle of effects left upon the death of an old Scottish woman of Aberdeen Scotland.