Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Morning Poetry

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!!


                                                                   ~ anonymous

The poem was found in an old man's room when he died in a nursing home in Australia.
The image is by KayLynn Deveney in an incredible book called the Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings. 


Mac n' Janet said...

Powerful! And as one who is growing older I think about this thing called old age and worry.

amelia said...

This poem always makes me a bit melancholy. Of course, yesterday I went to lunch at "the home" with my grandma . . . we sat with a lady we don't usually sit with and it was non-stop negativity. Perhaps us young folk should write a poem for the grouchy old people . . . and we could meet halfway . . . :)

alexa said...

Poignant and more than a little sad ... Seeing where it came from. Makes me glad we have Dad at home with us, however difficult it is at times ...

Roban said...

I've always loved this poem. It says so much about how we need to treat the elderly. Thanks for sharing and reminding.

Marilyn said...

I do know some of those feelings. I keep my baseball cap in my car, so sometimes when I get stares because of my grey hair I put the cap on so people driving around me think I am younger. When I see my reflection as I walk by a window I say that isn't me in the window, as my heart remembers and feels so much younger.
He did know how to write those words.

Kyra said...

Accept the fact that nothing can last....I see him, I feel him, lying all by himself, loneliness for company, wishing to be surrounded by the ones he loves. I hope that loneliness did not break his heart, that in his loneliness he had for company, kindness of the nurses or people he had been surrounded with. I shudder and dread to feel how he would have dealt with the engulfing lonesomness, that is what i dread about old age. I wish people would find time to spend with their old, listen to their stories, let them know that they have not been forgotten and that they will live on as memories

Jennifer Richardson said...

oh. my heart.
this is powerful beautiful, relyn;
thank you SO much for sharing,

Oldies, but Goodies