Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Crabbit Old Woman again

You will find a few different versions of this poem on the internet, and lots of stories about where it came from. I think the current Wikipedia article is pretty persuasive, which says that it was written  in 1966 by Phyllis McCormack. It is a brilliant poem and deserves to keep reappearing, but it is nice to have the correct information about its origin.

Crabbit Old Woman
What do you see, what do you see?
Are you thinking, when you look at me-
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 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 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.
By Phyllis McCormack

A Nurse’s reply ” To the ‘Crabbit Old Woman”

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 old people, and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and fuss –
There are many of you, And so few of us.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Walking and memorising

In May, 2013 Joan and i became the proud owners of Baxter, born 10th November 2010, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Louie, born 6th July, 2012, a miniature poodle cross, perhaps a shoodle.

It wasn't long before we realised that walking them individually would be much more peaceful than walking them together.

So, every day [nearly] Joan and I go for about a half an hour walk. Nearly every time, I walk with Louie. Occasionally, we swap, or I walk both dogs.

During the past year I have been attempting to memorise Scripture as I walk. I firstly had a crack at memorising Colossians 1 in the ESV translation, and also tried to learn Genesis 1 and John 1, both in the King James Version.

I have not got very far with this, but I have learnt or relearnt 15 psalms, in the venerable KJV. It has been much harder learning one I had not been familiar with, than revising ones I had learnt in Sunday School.

These are my first 15 psalms. If you look them up, you'll see they are some of  the shorter ones!
Book 1
1, 8
14, 15
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
117, 121
133, 134

There are still about 30 that have less than ten verses, which I hope to draw on, over the next year.

There's a lot of variety in the Psalms. You could study them for your whole life and not exhaust them.

The censored bit in the City of God

I've been reading Augustine's City of God this year. Today, when I read Book XIV:26, I noticed that Marcus Dods had left a passage in the Latin. (I remember this also being done in Calvin's Commentary on Genesis, in the comment on Genesis 30:37-43 [approximately]).

I managed to find a translation in Google Books, here. It is amazing how squeamish a translator can be!