5.3

An Old Man’s Poem. (This made me cry.)

Got this from Facebook, and it moved me to tears.

Perhaps because I am not getting any younger, and I can see my life thus far following this man’s description.

I wish he was around so that I could give him a hug and let him know he is loved, but alas, he has passed. Maybe another lesson here is to share that love with others while they are around to accept it? To steal a line from one of my favorite Pearl Jam lyrics (to Love Boat Captain):

“And the young, they can lose hope cause they can’t see beyond today,…
The wisdom that the old can’t give away”

Man, if we’d only listen from time to time! Anyway, I hope this has an effect on you as well.

{While the source of the poem has been questioned, the sentiment is beautiful. Enjoy! ~ ed.}

 

Cranky Old Man

(Originally by Phyllis McCormack; adapted by Dave Griffith)

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!!

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Alf Joubert Feb 2, 2016 2:48am

As a child I grew up in a frailcare home my step mother (not step to me) ran. I was fortunate to have had a few grand fathers and Grand mothers arround. This poem took me back more than sixty years.

I will never forget the thankfulness of the men folk after I washed and cut and combed their hair. Today I turn seventy two on the 8 of Feb. I lost my mother at the age of eight, she was burried on my birthday. In return God blessed me with a new life, a life to regard others and care for others. At my age I have good health and am of sound mind. I still regard older people as someone with dignity and with worth.

The old saying ” do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is very true.

liza Feb 1, 2016 9:04am

Wow..i can relate with old man’s poem. I used to havea RCFE (residential care facility for elderly) in California. One of them is a music composer. She can hardly hear but one time when I turn on the karaoke and d staff started singing ” Let me call u sweetheart” she sing also. I was shocked because this lady can hardly talk. It was amazing! I wont forget her..

Michael Cross Aug 8, 2013 6:10pm

This is actually a remake of a famous poem by Phyllis Mabel McCormack titled Crabbit Old Woman. There is a lovely response from a nurses perspective here: http://mrmom.amaonline.com/stories/CrabbitOldWoma…. Reading them both together shows the special relationship between the care giver and the cared for.

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