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MCCORMACK, Phyllis


Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see nurse, what do you see

Are you thinking when you're looking at me

A crabbbit 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

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, for you're looking at me


I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still

As I use at you biddings, as I eat at your will

I am 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 of soon her 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

A woman of thirty, my young growing fast

Bound to each other with ties that will last

At forty my young sons will now grow and be gone

Af fifty, 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 to the future, I shudder with dread

For my young are all busy, rearing young of their own

And I think of the years, and the love I have known

I'm now an old woman and nature is cruel

Tis her jest to make old age look like a feel

The body, it crumbles, 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 joys, I remember the pain

And I'm loving and living life all over again

I think of the years all too few - gone, so 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