Music by The Refusers

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cranky Old Man - A Poem And A Gift Left Behind - Author Unknown


When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. 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 Melbourne .. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his 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 sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . ... 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, nurse .you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do 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 boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . 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 guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman 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 wife is now 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 now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It's 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 carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . 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, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . ME!!


Anonymous said...

Being now myself in my late 70s I can relate very much to this. While I am still fairly healthy I am feeling slower - no original teeth in my lower jaw - one eye slowly going blind - hair white - I can accept this aging process but I remember a very different world to the one that I now see around me and I cry. I remember friends that have now left before me and our meaningful friendships, and the sincerity of those friendships, and strong emotions of sadness envelope me. I am living in a world I no longer recognise and one when my time comes I will be glad to leave. A world in which what is now considered music to the younger generations is simply noise to me - and it seems to be every where! Every day I cry as I watch the news and the slaughtering of innocent people by their rulers or the despicable way in which drug companies have secured the medical profession to do their will. I am luckier than most for I live in a part of the world in which one can still go into the natural world and feel that silence that fills me with a knowing that is beyond words. I cry for a world I loved and knew when I was younger - but is no more. I can accept the fact that things change over the years and growing older creates its limitations, but the world I now see around me is sadly not the world I was born and raised in - and I cry - I cry for the memories of happier times and the friends that are no more - when we travelled by ocean liners across the seas and danced on deck at mid-night under a moon that had a knowing smile. Life was good!

Michael B.

Carole said...

Hey thank you so much for following Carole's Chatter. I am now following you, too!

Unknown said...

Micheal B thanks for sharing how you feel, I feel old and I am only 48! I feel sad that the world familiar to me is slowly vanishing, It's full of greedy, selfish big corporate fat cats, who beleive it all revolves round them. I totally agree about the drug companies! ordinary folk earning an ordinary wage to survive, and try and enjoy life have no chance. We are all in a 'prison' being controlled all the time, 'celebs' shoved down our throats who earn disgusting amounts of money, tabloids with holding the news we really should read about, but it's all sensored to distract us. If anything big hits the news, then it's gone, it's covered up by stories of snivelling CEO's footballers and the like. I despair, I truly do. I don't trust anything anymore, as an asthmatic I question why do I take the same drugs I was given 40 yrs ago, where is the progress in medicine? I now realise keeping people sick makes money, curing people makes none, that's why the cures for cancer are banished, the multi trillion dollar drugs companies have made sure of this. I just want a simple uncomplicated life, but the powers that be, and THEY are everywhere want it otherwise!! the fake vaccination program in Africa is where AIDS came from !!!

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

And thank you all three for your comments.

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

Please remove the image from this poem. There is absolutely no association - the picture was taken from someone's private, secure site, and is now being spread around without the permission of that person. Parents have a legal right to restrict the use of images of their children, and using this picture without their consent is actually illegal. In addition, it is causing the family pain to see such an intimate moment be trivialized around the web - attached to a story that has nothing to do with the people in the picture. Read the real story here:

And then please, respect the rights of the parents and remove the image from your site.

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

Hello Anonymous:

I honoured your request and removed the photo, replacing it with another.

Kind regards,

Pam Bickell said...

Hi Mike,

This is poignant and very important. Older people have so much to share, but it's hard to get others to slow down and listen. Thanks for sharing this. I'm going to print it for my mom. She will love it.


black.barbie said...

Such a beautiful poem. It's full of truth, love and realities about life.

"Treasure your relationships, not your possessions." - Anthony J DVangelo on Relationship quotes

Anonymous said...

This poem is a copy of one written by and old lady in hospital and a nurse found it after she died. Someone had changed the gender of the subject is all. I just thought i would let you know the message is an important one never the less

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Manic Sylph said...

A beautiful poem and insight into the mind of an old man.
Thanks for bringing the poem to us :)

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

You are very welcome Manic S.


KiBLS said...

This cranky old man was writing wise words :)