The crabby old man

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When an old man died in a nursing home the hospital staff believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. 

Crabby Old Man

What do you see, nurses? . . . . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . . when you’re looking at me?
A crabby 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 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’s 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.
‘Tis jest, to make old age . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles; . . .. . . grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone . . . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . . . a young guy 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 crabby old man.  Look closer; . . . . . see ME!!

 

 

The quality and content of the poem impressed the staff so much that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health.  

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

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within . . . . . we will all, one day, be there, too! 

This touched me deeply, so I thought I share it today!

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12 thoughts on “The crabby old man

  1. Pingback: Wednesday’s Winding Way | Snailzpace Daily (Homeward Bound)

  2. That’s so … TRUE, B. It’s so absolutely relevant to ageing in this uncaring world. I shall in all probabiliy reblog it later in the week, because it speaks to me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It touched me so deeply today in the morning, I read it over and over and just had to post it. I knew that you would like it too. You are right, our world became uncaring and older people are often treated with so much disrespect, it’s a shame. I wish that every nurse and every caretaker in hospitals, nursing homes and similar places would read this, it’s an eye-opener! Young people need to read this! I think I fell in love with the “crabby old guy” and wish he would know about the impact his poem had on me…and hopefully so many more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just spent the weekend with an older relative, who is not so well, and a bit cranky and short of patience. I commented to my husband that it is a pity the other people we were spending time with did not know what he was like 30 years ago- so jovial, always kidding, always laughing. This poem speaks so perfectly to that. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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