A few weeks ago I posted the poem, THE CRABBIT OLD WOMAN, written by an aged inhabitant of a nursing home.  She pleads to be seen for what she is, a person, deserving of love, respect, and tender, loving care.  The response to her poem by a nurse whose job is caring for those warehoused in such homes, who suffer silently as they await the end, is too good not to be included here.  It is said to have been written by a Liverpool nurse.

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.

Nursing homes are often understaffed and the nurses overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated.  It would be a corporal act of mercy for friends and relatives of those who are tucked away, invisibly, in such homes to take the time for a short visit. What a morale booster for the patient, the nurses, and the visitor!


I was naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Matthew 25:36.