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!
Pure, heartrending truth. Thank you for sharing this reminder that the cover, in no way, conveys the beauty within. I must reblog this!
Hey Kip! When I read this, I was moved. The poem brought tears to my eyes. I have no idea why we forget that we have to come to the same phase of life! Thank you for the reblog.
Have a good night!!
Have a great night, too, Naima! My pleasure on the reblog, It is quite similar to the quote I planned for today.
You are a young soul Kip! Loads of love!!
Reblogged this on Kip's Thoughts and commented:
Words we should all remember.
True! Thanks for sharing naima!
Thank you for realizing the fact mentioned in the post! I fear old-age; it is kinda punishment of your misdoings in the world. May GOD bless us all with His mercy!
You need not afraid of old age, If you have your loved ones around you.
We can be all alone in the world too – the same story happened with this man.
Fingers crossed 🙂
It is the same with everyone of us – we realize many things way too late.
Now I’m afraid 🙂 too
Don’t be afraid B! Let dark be the sole factor to scare the death outta you! [Laughs]
Anyway, how are you doing with your new car?? Smooth drive now a days??
😀 I have started to learn on my own but it’s not advisable here to take a ride out of my appartment so Im joining a school today! You asked about it on the right day 🙂
Awww.. I am sure, ya will be enjoying the ride soon enough on the streets too!!
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.
I would like to put this on my timeline with your permission
You do not have to ask for any permission. You can freely put this wherever you want Len 🙂
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!
I loved it! Great post.
Thank you so much!!
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!
And much love right back at you!!!!
Hi Naima: Very powerful and full of essential truths that most of us overlook. Thanks for sharing.
Indeed – I have no idea why we fail to realize that everyone of us will have to see this time one day or the other.
So beautiful Naima. Got my inspiration for the day. Thank you!
This man is an inspiration for all of us!
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,
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/ 🙂
Heya!! So you are free eh?? Busy man nowadays!!
Thank you for the encouragement always 🙂
Haha! Who told you that I’m busy these days? 😀 😛
I realized it, you see!! The busy busy Rahul!! [Wink]
How you realized it?? I’m not at all or can’t be a busy TEEN guy for kinda academic excellence! 😛 😀
I think you really are but you are shy to admit it [WINK]
Haha! Really? Is that a prediction from our wise ‘Ambiguous Words’ gal? 😀 🙂
Not just a prediction but I am certainly very sure about it!
How did you know it? That’s what I needs to know! 😛 😀
Observing your blog and activities!! As simple! My intuition works like a clock dear 😉
Haha! You just meant that Rahul is BUSY only, right? 😀 😀
No need of further mentions regarding your INTUITIONS, buddy. 😀 😀
“I know you at least a BIT”, huh?? 😀 😀
Within that limit, I could imagine about this gal. LOL. 😀
I know, you know me well [Winks]
Haha! May be….. 😛 😀
She is my best International pal you know? 😉 :). Hence she must knows me well, right? 😛
I am sure, I do know you well – Like too well!!
Gehaha! Okay, fine. Pretty good to hear that from you buddy. 🙂
Anyway, it’s time for me to log-out. Amma already started scolding me for having late night surfing, since I have to face 2 theory as well as 1 practical exam on tomorrow. Poor Amma! I can’t neglect these kind of tempered enough advice from her anymore. If I wish to continue like this right now, most probably will be OUT from home itself for tonight. 😛 LOL
Will catch you later, gal. Have a great time ahead!
Have a good night and good luck for the writing of your tests!!
God Bless you too,
we take elderly people for granted so much!
Exactly!!! We do and there is always a time we regret what we did in the past!! Humans malfunction much more than computers at times!!!
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
You are so right sweetheart, everyone will get it and hence everyone should be ready for it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts though.
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.
You are very right Rosy, old-age comes with its own toils and charms, we just have to analyse them accordingly. Thank you for your wise comment.
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
It is indeed a great poem! I couldn’t help myself but re-read it over and over again!!
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
Profound.Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for reading [Smiles]
You are welcome.Wishing you a splendid week!
Same to you , have a great week ahead!
Naima…This one had escaped me until now. Thank you for posting it.!! I love the sentiment. It really is quite remarkable.
Yes, it is Howard!! We all love you and your blog with heart and soul!!
You be well too.
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.
Heya! You can certainly reblog it, anytime [Smiles]
Great Naima 🙂
Yor are Right..We should respect them..We have to think that we will be there one day!
So true!! Everybody of us have to face that very same thing one day!!
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!!
Something to make us all stop in our tracks and think! 🙂
Sublime verse 🙂
Yeah it is, I was moved when I read it! I couldn’t sleep whole night and I thought of the old soul that might be enjoying the pleasures of Heaven now!
His poem is one of the best I have ever written!
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.
You are very right!! WE ALL NEED TO REALIZE THIS ONE DAY AS WELL WILL BE TREATED THE SAME WAY WE TREAT THEM! Your deeds come right back at you!
Hi Naima, It’s very good . Thanks
Thank you Alsanda for dropping by. [Smiles]
This is me in a few short years or less.
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!!
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!!
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 😉
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!
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.
Mutual feelings here! I feel his pain and I fear the curse of old age!
Home is home and no place can ever match to it!
I am an old man and I am crankier than God!
Ummm.. I can’t say anything but I do respect your emotions! Lets not being GOD in between!
Just having a bad week. I’m sure God can get much crankier than me! lol
Don’t worry, bad times are just a part of life – they doesn’t guarantee you the CRANKIER part of the episode! Anyway, I hope you are fine soon!
I am, hope you are, and thank you.
You are always welcome and HOPE I really am 🙂
You are most welcome but do you realize the diminuative of your name is “glob”? I am going to invent a cooler nick-name for you.
YPF (your pal forever)
SIN (my initials)
I thought you had promised yourself you were going to keep a personal journal. What happened with that?
Personal Journal? Gosh! I have it since I was 8 so there is hell of my private time with paper and pen! But which register ya talking about Crankyy??
Aww,, the initials are so sweet – you are so kind, by the way what does SIN stand for?? I loved the nick name. Thanks.
You are wise, grasshopper! 🙂
OMG! This is the thousandth time I am hearing it then why does my mommy doesn’t approve of it?? LOL 😀
Look deep with in yourself… the answer is there waiting…..
I am naughty and youthful enjoying the young years with wisdom (at times) 😉
I wouldn’t know wisdom if it reared up and kicked me in the dharma! lol (get it?)
Oh my my! Big Vic really loosened the screws that kept your brain intact previously!! Lol
That is presuming they had ever been tight! lol
I wonder why did I not think over that – congratulations for being incredibly right for the very first time. Lol.
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.
Yeah, you are right! In various parts of the world, we have to keep up to many things. Old age itself is a great turmoil.
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!
Thank you for following 🙂
Your posts speak of the wisdom themselves, dear !
Thank you I am appreciative.
You’re always welcome [Smiles]
i’d like to comment, but i’m too busy crying. thank you reminding me to always keep my eyes and my heart open.
I know, it is very sentimental! I wonder how can we ever forget that this time will haunt us too!
By the way, your blog is awesome!! I loved my visit there and enjoyed it. Thank you for dropping by.
thank you so much for visiting my blog. i’m just figuring this whole thing out. i really appreciate the kind words.
I loved it! Thank you for dropping in.
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.
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.
Thank you for the re-blog.
This is beautiful 🙂
Thank you for visiting my blog, Whimsically Yours
Your blog was a beauty in itself [Smiles]
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A great post! Beautiful! 🙂
Thank you so much!
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