What do you see,
Nurse, what do you see?
What are you thinking,
When you look at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With far-away eyes.

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 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 looking at ME

I’ll tell you who I am,
As I sit here so still;
A I rise 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,
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 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 to the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are 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.

But inside this old carcass,
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again
My battered heart swells.

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 crabby old woman,
look close-see ME.