Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crabby Old Man

This just came in my email.. I had to share.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possesions, 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 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.  A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent poem.

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.

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 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 voices...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...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!!

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!


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9 comments:

blueviolet said...

I love this!!!

Menopausal New Mom said...

This is a beautiful poem and so true! We have a special residence just down the road from our home, there is what I would consider a crabby old man who goes around in his electric wheelchair. I was looking out my window one day and saw that his hat had blown off his head. He could not get out of his wheel chair to get it. I ran outside, introduced myself and he mumbled that he wanted me to put the hat on his head. I did, it wasn't long though that I saw out the window that he was slowing going by with the hat in his mouth, the wind had picked up and he didn't want it to blow off his head again. He was not mobile enough to tuck the hat under one of his legs. Again, I ran out smiling and cheerful asking if I could help, he asked me to put the hat in the pouch on the back of his wheelchair which I gladly did. I always wave and smile when I see him but I usually just get a stern look. That's okay, I will continue to smile at him as long as I continue to see him. This poem could just as easily be about him.

Sorry to write so much, almost turned into a post of my own!

Just Breathe said...

That is awesome, thank you for sharing it with us.

elastic waistbands and comfortable shoes said...

that is a beautiful poem. we don't have any family living nearby and all of my grandparents have passed away, but we like to visit the senior living homes in our town on halloween. they hold an "open house" and invite the public in to trick or treat. our riding club will also be going to sing christmas carols this year. oh, how i hope they have their hearing aids turned off!

Vodka Logic said...

Great poem, I hope all the nurses took note.

Reminds of the old man at the end of the Diane Lane movie Tuscan Sun (I think that was the name)

Corrie Howe said...

Thanks for sharing this poem. Congrats on all your recent awards. And I love the turkey! It's adorable. Brought a smile to my face.

Deidra said...

Beautiful! It's true that we all have a story and a life and a purpose. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Angela said...

That was absolutely beautiful and so eye opening. Thanks for sharing that.

Midday Escapades said...

Love this. Wow, just amazing. It's so true though, you just never know what someone is underneath, what they have gone through or going through. Thanks for the gentle reminder, friend. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your fam.