'open your eyes nurses,'

This beautiful poem about old age first came to my attention 50 years ago

when I learned it and it is still as popular as ever.



What do you see nurse? This poem was reportedly written by a woman who died in the geriatric ward of Ashludie Hospital near Dundee, Scotland. It was found among her possessions and so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.


Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland.


"Crabbit ", also variously titled "Look Closer", "Look Closer Nurse", "Kate", "Open Your Eyes" or "What Do You See?", is a poem written in 1966 by Phyllis McCormack, then working as a nurse in Sunnyside Hospital, Montrose. The poem is written in the voice of an old woman in a nursing home who is reflecting upon her life. Crabbit is Scots for "bad-tempered" or "grumpy".

The poem appeared in the Nursing Mirror in December 1972 without attribution.


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