Cranky Old Man

I received this poem by email earlier today from a friend who likes to pass on many of these kind of things. Many are merely a good laugh and nothing more but this one… this one really struck a cord so I wanted to share it with as many people as possible.

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 . . . 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!!
originally written by Dave Griffith

It made me stop and think a bit… My Grandmother, recently passed away at the grand age of 97, spent her last few months at an Old People’s home but had receeded into her own little world a number of years ago. Life – from the outside – for her didn’t seem to amount to much anymore. Waking up, washing, having breakfast, sitting down and watching – something which became just a formality towards the end as all her senses were abandoning her – some tv, having lunch, going to rest, having supper and back to bed for the night. Day in day out, the same routine and from the outside it seemed that nothing would change. Yet, who knows what was going on inside? Her occasional outburst of song, or sometimes a fit of sadness was the only clue that the cogs of time were slowly cranking behind the mask of dementia.

She wanted to go home she would say… something we couldn’t really understand. “You are at home Nanna” we would tell her, but that comment would be lost – lost in translation maybe?

In June of this year she took her final journey and went back home. Back home with all her memories and her beloved husband, back home to where she would be understood again.

This poem above is truly beautiful and provides much food for thought.

So sit back a while and think hard and the next time your old granny or granddad gets on your nerves because of some silly comment or action just remember that inside there still is a person who like you, like me, like all of us has his, her passions, love and life and its just that the body has crumbled and built a wall through which communication becomes difficult.


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