Books for Kids

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cranky Old Man....

I found this during my many wander across the net. As I’m fast approaching that time in life when people look at me and think (that’s an old person) I wanted to share this with you all. A beautiful but simple poem that needs to be set in stone and placed in every hospital, nursing home and place where the elderly dwell.

Read and remember….
Carol x

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, they thought he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that they made copies and distributed them 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 appears in magazines for Mental Health. A slide presentation was made, based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. 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…. 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 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!!


  1. This is a poem worth sharing over and over. Our eyes grow dim, sometimes our brains do, too, along with joints that creak and crack, but our spirit stays forever young.

    My advice is to stay away from mirror for they only lie.

  2. Yes I agree touched me deeply. Sound advice about the mirror. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Carol x

  3. Wow. I'm so glad I clicked that link on your Twitter profile, Carol. What a touching poem. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to read it Carl. Pass it on please.

    Carol x