Thursday 5 July 2012

Cranky Old Man ....

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!!

Source:  Facebook  Shared with permission.
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.  


Dear Adam

I apologise for using a picture of your grandfather and daughter on this post.  When I originally received it there was a note attached: Permission to share.  As you requested in your comment I have removed it. I would like to thank you for blogging about this beautiful picture it is a really precious family moment, one to definately treasure as well as for taking the time to let me know that the person who "shared  it with permission" had not done so in all honesty.

May your memories continue to be a blessing to you and your family.



  1. How sad and so touching, Chareen! I used to visit a nursing home with my children and we'd help the residents with eating, etc. They used to love seeing the little ones and were so grateful but, even though it sounds like a cliche, it felt like a privilege to me. On one to two occasions, I had a real sense that it was Jesus who we were helping.

    Thanks for sharing this, Chareen - it's a beautiful poem.
    God bless:-)

    1. I agree Vicky. When I read this poem it really moved me.

  2. Very beautiful - and very true. We spend a lot of time these days in at the 'Old Folks' Home' - mainly because both my parents now live there. As we visit more and more, we're finding that we're spending time not only with my parents, but with many of the residents, to whom a simply 'hello, how are you?' can brighten their day so much. They just love having the children around, especially when we decide to stay a bit longer and sing a few songs as well! I've really gained an insight into old age these past few months, and how, so easily, we can help bring joy to those who are suffering. Great post!

    1. I couldn't resist Linda when I read it. It touched me so very deeply. I have been thinking about this for a while now. It's close to my heart.

  3. You do not, actually, have permission to use that photograph: the facebook page you got it from is using it without the permission of the man who took the picture - the father of the little girl. Please read:

    And then please remove the photograph!

    1. Dear Adam.

      I would like to thank you for contacting me re the photograph originally attached.

      As requested I have removed the picture.

  4. P.S. You can like the poem and disagree with the blog post I linked in my previous comment, but a father has the right to not want a picture of his daughter and grandfather used by strangers. By all means keep the poem up, but remove the picture! Sometimes special private moments in a family should REMAIN special, private moments.



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