Cranky Old Man



When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in country New South Wales, 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 . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . 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!!



Remember ... no one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Au Revoir !

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Comment by Tom Breau on October 27, 2009 at 6:48pm
Seems our bodies are like prisons where the only escape is death. People are usually much more than they seem outwardly. Very nice poem with overflowing with sadness. thankyou for sharing
Comment by Cindy Bear on October 24, 2009 at 1:11pm
Brought tears to my eyes Annie. Thought of Dad, whose gone 12 years this Christmas. Great poem, thanks for sharing.

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