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Cranky Old Man

Respect them for you will be here too one day!

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, 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 oldman’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. 

This old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the globe awaking masses to accept the reality that“nobody can run away from the dreadful old age however ravishing their young age may be”.

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 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!!

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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About globalunison

Writing is my passion and that is what I do here on this blog. I write about everything, whether it be Nature, Love, Hate, Relationships, Humans, Personal Life (where I discuss lessons learnt through real-life experiences), Food, Philosophy (sometimes) and much more. I write in any form whether it be Prose or Poetry. I am in search of ‘Myself’, hence there is not much I can tell you about me. Perhaps, I have a very brilliant idea. Why don’t you come along with me on my journey? I will always care to share and you can also enjoy the ride. For now, this is it. I am ‘ME’ – a wanderer in search of a fulfilling life. Until next time, Love Living Life! I express my sincere gratitude to all my Readers! -Naima

126 responses to “Cranky Old Man

  1. Kip Light

    Pure, heartrending truth. Thank you for sharing this reminder that the cover, in no way, conveys the beauty within. I must reblog this!

  2. Kip Light

    Reblogged this on Kip's Thoughts and commented:
    Words we should all remember.

  3. Alex Jones ⋅

    Good find.

  4. Balu

    True! Thanks for sharing naima!

  5. This so reminds me of my father when he was in a nursing home, he died there luing on the bathroom floor
    because they forgot someone had taken him in and didn’t return, he fell the stress of trying to get up
    caused a heart attack. so a beautiful beautiful story and I am crying for my father and this gentleman too. Beautiful beautiful story.

    • Awww Len. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.
      The same story reminded me of my grandpa who died of excruciating pain as he had cancer in his bladder. I fear old-age. The poem of this man brought tears to my eyes; I could’t help myself but share it with all of you guys so we realize how is it important to not ignore them as we have to reach the same stage after all!! Love you loads Len.
      -Naima.

  6. I would like to put this on my timeline with your permission

  7. Such a beauty it is.. the entire journey of emotions.. Thank you so much for sharing it.. !

    • Everybody’s life consists of the same stages and the same journey of emotions; we just fail to realize that the old man was young once and we have to reach the same age one day!
      Have a good day!
      -Naima.

  8. artzent

    This is so moving and so true. Its easy to brush aside the fact that we will not always be here when you are young. But when you get older comes a realization of the circle of life all around you. So then you want to leave something behind that is truly helpful. This man certainly did! Love the poem and also love the photograph!
    I am always amazed that someone so young as you is so perceptive! thank you for this. It will help a lot of people.

    • Hey ya Artzent! I hope you are doing well! This man certainly moved me with his poem too; it shook me from head to toe. I realized how old-age is another examination in the world which when accomplished , we can pursue eternal happiness in the world.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement as always! Thank you for your ever-loving comments!
      Much love,
      -Naima.

  9. Hi Naima: Very powerful and full of essential truths that most of us overlook. Thanks for sharing.

  10. So beautiful Naima. Got my inspiration for the day. Thank you!

  11. I have read that before. It is always good to read and reread. We shouldn’t have to be reminded to realize that we all are facing those days.

    Oh dear. I forgot I am in those days right now. 🙂

    I am fortunate to still be able to care for myself. And I love reading your thoughts and blogs. But I think I am the 17 year old and you are the wise elder. lol

    • Awww.. I love you loads! But with the power of expereince and life terms you will always be older. I know I can learn a lot with the span of time and my life rumblings; even I look forward to you to earn the treasure of learning.

      Much love to you and big hugs,
      -Naima.

  12. Nice to know about him via your world, Naima! 🙂
    An intense reminder especially for the present generation. Hats off to that WISE and YOUNG minded man.\m/ 🙂
    -Rahul

  13. Haha! Who told you that I’m busy these days? 😀 😛

  14. we take elderly people for granted so much!

  15. A beautiful and touching post, Naima. indeed, we say in our ocountry that old age is not bought with money, neither is it a disease that one may get and the other may not get. Everyone will get it. Thanks for sharing

  16. RoSy

    Beautiful post to share. Something about “old” people that just calls me. I love their look & I love what they represent – a life passing by. I hope to one day be an “old people.” I would wear my wrinkles proudly.

  17. This is an outstanding poem, I can only imagine it being the thoughts that many old men in nursing homes throughout Australia must write in their minds as they silently watch the days pass by,
    A great post
    Aussie Ian

  18. The Emu

    This is an outstanding poem, I can only imagine it being the thoughts that many old men in nursing homes throughout Australia must write in their minds as they silently watch the days pass by
    A great post
    Aussie Emu

  19. Profound.Thanks for sharing.

  20. Naima…This one had escaped me until now. Thank you for posting it.!! I love the sentiment. It really is quite remarkable.
    Be well…
    Howard

  21. renxkyoko

    This is so good ! ! May I reblog this < maybe when I'm done with my Euro Trip journals? Thank you for sharing. * misty eyed* Oh, my, this is really good.

  22. Besides footsteps, this poem is probably the most awesome poem i have ever read. He has left a wise message for young people to understand that life is but a whisper, and the flesh will disappear but still in the spirit we will always be young because the spirit lives forever and will be forever blessed! And that is what most people can never see when they look at someone , God does, He always looks at the heart of men and women…the goodness that lives there assures a reward in the new life to come. thanks Naima for sharing mans last sharing stroke of brilliance!

    • This was the most awesome poem I have ever read myself! I share the mutual feelings, my dear brother! Life may sound slow-paced at time but when we turn old, it seems to be a blink of an eye – hence we should try to keep in our heads that one day we will reach the stage when we will no more be young and a fighter as we are today!! Old age comes with its own charms and toils!!
      Blessings,
      -Naima.

  23. Something to make us all stop in our tracks and think! 🙂
    Sublime verse 🙂

  24. Arindam

    One of the most heart touching, though provoking and honest poem I have ever read. It made me think, am I looking at the old man I meet across the street in the same way he wants me to see him. Thanks a lot for sharing this beautiful poem for all of us. We all need to realize one day we will be there.

  25. Hi Naima, It’s very good . Thanks

  26. mindsurfer1 ⋅

    This is me in a few short years or less.

    • Hahaha 😀
      This is everybody in few years or later! I loved your blog, a great style of humor in the most distinguished way!!
      Keep it up!!
      -Naima.

      • mindsurfer1 ⋅

        But I’m prettier, right? Right? Hmmm, you’re taking a bit too long to reply to be convincing. Glad you like my blog. Say, would you like to see short horror fiction on it? Outright labeled as such fiction?

      • Hahaha 😀 I am convinced, sweetheart! You are much prettier!!
        Yeah, I would love to see HORROR FICTION!! I would want to test the skills of your pen(or rather keyboard) there!!
        Love,
        -Naima.

      • mindsurfer1 ⋅

        Okay, I’m going to poll the troops a bit but am inclined to self publish some of my fiction. I have already published a couple of things but years ago. You might want to consider doing so to!

      • I would want to go through what ya published years ago! I just want to check out the flavor you see 😉
        -Naima.

      • mindsurfer1 ⋅

        Stand by just a bit. I will be posting a tale soon. Would you prefer werewolf in ancient France or vampire in the Old West, or unnamed fangey thing in the late forties or early 50’s?

      • I would rather want to try Unnamed fangey thing in early 50s, like ancient things!! I am so fed up of vampires and werewolves! They suck me to death!

  27. qiquan

    My heart breaks to see old people in the nursing home, the progress of civilization, and the richness of our soul should be based on Love. Life is harsh, when our soul finds no love to live in. I can hear the old man, he said, I want to go home.

  28. mindsurfer1 ⋅

    I am an old man and I am crankier than God!

  29. Great blog, Naima.
    There is a saying:
    Old age is cr*p, but it beats the alternative.

    In Scotland we try to help the elderly with subsidised rail and free bus travel, free medical prescriptions, etc, but there is so much more needing to be done.

  30. pennycoho

    Hi, I am thrilled to follow you, you are wise and your words are powerful, thank you so much with sharing this wisdom with the world!

  31. i’d like to comment, but i’m too busy crying. thank you reminding me to always keep my eyes and my heart open.

  32. This was so …. I don’t know how to describe it, but I cried while I read it. I am reblogging.

    • Yeah, this is very sentimental! I wonder how can we ever forget that we all have to go through this stage!
      I have no issues with re-blogging. I always appreciate in spreading a good word. Thank you.
      Regards,
      -Naima.

  33. Reblogged this on khaula mazhar and commented:
    I was so touched when I read this, just had to reblog. Very thoughtful of Globalunision to post, we all will be in that spot one day.

  34. This is beautiful 🙂

    Thank you for visiting my blog, Whimsically Yours

  35. Pingback: Cranky, old, tired of fools | klendathu

  36. preety92 ⋅

    A great post! Beautiful! 🙂

  37. Pingback: A Cranky Old Man | From guestwriters

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