Cranky Old Man

I found the following poem on Facebook. It gives an account of an old man’s life, written in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town.

This is the information given: When the man died, “it was believed that 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 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 magazines 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… had 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 vigor, 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 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!”

PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM (originally by Phyllis McCormack; adapted by Dave Griffith) The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!


About kelund

My name is Kerstin Anderas-Lundquist. I was born in Sweden to Per & Brita Anderas, on March 6, 1946. In 1948 we left to begin a missionary life in Chile; in 1956 we moved on to Peru. On May 1, 1969 I married an all-Swedish guy from Karslkrona: Bengt Göran Emanuel Lundquist. God blessed us with two daughters: Eva-Marie Elizabeth and Ruth Carina. We served as missionaries in Peru and Bolivia. In 1988 we moved to the United States to work at Life Publishers in Miami, Florida. I was to assist in developing the line of Sunday School Curriculm in Spanish known as Vida Nueva. I live in Springfield, Missouri, and am retired from work at the Assemblies of God Headquarters. My husband and daughter Eva-Marie have been promoted to Heaven. Carina is married to Thom Cole and they have given me four gourgeous grandchildren, even five (teen-age John). I will be writing about my life, past and present, blended with visions for the future. My deepest desire is to spread the “seed of love”–inspiration to serve God and our neighbors with love and compassion.
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