Writer, opera singer, film director and producer

Dear Nurses...

Dear Nurses...

Just as in the D.H. Lawrence Sea-weed poem, how often do we glance at a piece of writing, or a person, in passing, and not realise what’s hidden there?

An eighty-year-old woman, in a London hospital, was discovered one morning in her bed, cold and still. At peace, gone in the night. She’d never spoken to the nurses, never asked for anything as they fed and cleaned her. She’d just smiled every now and then. After orderlies had taken her body away, two nurses stripped her bed, emptied the drawers in the cabinet at the side of her bed and found a letter, addressed to them, to the nurses. So they read it. It was hand-written in fountain pen ink, in old-fashioned, joined-up words, as they used to teach us in primary school all those years ago.

It was headed, “Dear Nurses…” 

“I’ll tell you who I am, as I lie here so still
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a child of ten with a father and mother.
Brothers and sisters who love one another;
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;
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.
My young are all busy 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 it crumbles, grace and vigour depart
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcase 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 the living all over again.
And I think of the years all too few – gone too fast
And I accept the stark fact that nothing will last…
So open your eyes, my friends, open and see.”

Tags: Poetry  Emotional  

Posted: Tuesday 1 February 2022


  • Such a lovely and beautiful poem!
    Posted: 2022-02-15 21:22   by Natalia Valentino
  • What a lovely and moving poem. How true the line, "But inside this old carcase a young girl still dwells…" I think we never really see ourselves as old no matter what our age is.
    Posted: 2022-02-11 08:27   by Sol S.
  • A truly beautiful poem indeed. Life is so short. We must enjoy all the good & ignore the bad.
    Posted: 2022-02-09 21:21   by Peter H
  • Love the sentiment and a great example of a life well-lived, with purpose and poignancy. A great example of how to face the inevitable end.
    Posted: 2022-02-09 13:36   by Paul S
  • I remember my Mother just like this with the nurses doing everything for her and how grateful she was. She too never said much in her last days but was pleased to see me, her youngest child (the baby). The last words I heard her say was"big baby isn't he". I loved the way she spoke about her life.
    Posted: 2022-02-09 10:37   by Grahame Howley

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