Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Poem: Look Closer

This is my final collection of poems on growing old. I must admit that the poems has a negative tone and implication to them. But the earlier ones had a sense of humour. I think growing older is something that all of us have to go through and the thought of it brings feelings of depression, uncertainty, lack of self-worth and a decrease in the physical abilities that the young take for granted.

These poems will be a good starting point for our young students particularly teens and the older ones, to think about how to help, to symphatize and to respect the aged for what they have gone through and going through. As caring citizens of Malaysia, we need to develop and have the character to love and assist the senior citizens through the last days of their lives.

After I had read the poem below, I saw that I could be like the person described in the poem. It may not be fun growing old and therefore we need to be aware of the effects. For the young, the message is 'appreciate your youth' and do care for the aged. You will be old one day!

Look Closer
by Phyllis McCormack

What do you see? What do you see?

Are you thinking when you're looking at me,

A crabbit 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 quite unresisting, 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, you're not looking at me.

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

As I move 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 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 grown fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last;

At forty, my young sons will soon all be gone,

But my man is beside me to see I don't mourn;

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 at the future, I shudder with dread;

For my young are all busy with 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 it crumbles, 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 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, open and see

Not a crabby old woman, look closer - SEE ME.


  1. It's too long ma. However, we learn something. TQ

  2. It's too long ma. However, we learn something. TQ

  3. It's a beautiful poem I heard on TV many years ago in the 60's. There is one mistake...it's not crabbit old woman it's "crabby"

  4. Hi Jeffrey!

    I've looked up the meaning of crabbit and it means: an Old Scottish slang for grumpy or miserable.

    Hope that clears things up.