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A Crabby Old Man

posted 3/7/2007 10:57:11 AM |
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tagged: poem

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, 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 Missouri. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the "News Magazine" of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking, when you're looking at me?
A crabby 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 nurses, 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 20, my heart gives a leap,
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep.

At 25, now I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A man of 30, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other, with ties that should last.

At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me, to see I don't mourn.
At 50, 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 there own,
And I think of the years, and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man, and nature is cruel,
Tis 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 guy 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 crabby old man, look closer, see ME!

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Mar 7 @ 11:10AM  
People should take heed to this poem! When I was young, (16) I had to stay in a hospital for a week. I had a semi private room and the person with me was an 82 year old Saudi. He and I hit it off and had a good time. I was released and he went home later but I knew his name and found his address and he lived close enough for me to ride my 10 speed to his home. The family was happy and surprised so I saw him and said hello! A month had passed and I went to see him again. He like figs. I brought some with me. He had passed away! I was very sad for days. I knew right then and there that one day I too will get old (by the grace of God or Goddess) I am in my 50s I now can see how that poem makes me feel! When your yound and someone say's their 50 and they may be 19! The youth feels like "Man this guy is a fossil! He's an artifact! Christ he's ancient!" Suddenly your 50! You still feel very much the same! As a guy, I still love to look at young women as much as I love looking at women my age! I liked older women when I was 20! We have feelings all our life! We want to be loved all of our lives! We want frienship all our lives and we want to never be lonely all of our lives! Be good and kind to those you will soon resemble for you too will feel unappreciated or a burden to someone!

Mar 7 @ 11:38AM  
All too often the elderly are dismissed as being worthless or, even worse, are abused (unfortunately, abuse of the elderly is becoming more and more prevalent). In many culture, the elderly are revered... they are the repositories of great experience and wisdom.

I think we need to take a hard look at how we respect and treat our elderly. Rather than tolerate the many poor quality homes where they live out their years in squalor, provide them with comfortable, caring surroundings.

I'm in my 50's and know that, someday, I may be in that same situation, and it scares the hell out of me to think about how I may be treated.

Mar 7 @ 12:32PM  
very cool

Mar 7 @ 12:49PM  
there is a matching one for crabby old woman....just as good.....

Mar 7 @ 12:57PM  
...and I too can sooo relate to this since it has been a week now that we had to put my father into a nursing home. What a pathetic place. Sure they take good care of him but it is so informal, so sad, no privacy, very depressing. When I go to visit him, I often take time to speak with other patients there. I know they don't know me or probably even remember me after I leave; however, I think it makes their hearts swell that someone, anyone will just take some time to talk to them!

Mar 7 @ 1:01PM  
I work in a Long Term Care Facility and have been doing this kind of work now for about 6 years. I must say that the poem really hit me. I always...every day try and remember that the people I care for where once Children, teens,Parents....The generation in our homes now are "The Greatest Generation" They fought for us and did so out of pride for our country, US & Canada. I have met hundreds of people and seen as many die. Some dying surrounded by family and some dying only with me or a co worker holding there hand. We owe so much to these people and we need to remember that they are humans. They are people and they deserve our love and respect. Thanks so much for the poem. I'm going to share it with my family and friends. Thanks Again!

Mar 7 @ 1:08PM  
Kudos. Nothing more to say.

Mar 7 @ 2:05PM  
very nice poem

Mar 7 @ 3:26PM  
I loved this poem. I try to never let my patients lose their identity.. even if their mind is long gone, I still try to learn as much about them as I can and speak to them of their days gone by.

Excellent poem.

Also, I am impressed with this one as well:

Blessed are they who understand
My faltering steps and palsied hands.
Blessed are they who know my ears today
Must strain to catch the things they say.
Blessed are they who seem to know
That my eyes are dim and my wits are slow.
Blessed are they who looked away
when coffee spilled at the table today.
Blessed are they with a cherry smile
who stop to chat for a little while.
Blessed are they who never say,
“You’ve told that story twice today.”
Blessed are they who know my ways
to bring back memories of yesterdays.
Blessed are they who make it known
that I’m loved, respected and not alone.
Blessed are they who know I’m at a loss
to find the strength to carry the cross.

This one hangs in our nursing home. Thank You for sharing this. I will be sharing it myself.

Mar 7 @ 3:31PM  

Mar 7 @ 3:56PM  
GREAT poem!!
I work in a nursing home/rehab center and have been doing this work for 9 years and to many times have I seen young co-works that don't under stand that these lovely "old" people that we care for have liven amazing lives and if you only take the time to see this you can learn so much from them. I have had the pleasure of caring for and getting to know so many amazying people. I breaks my heart when family thinks that it is too much to care for their aging parents and dump them and don't visist them. But one of the greatest things about being humans with a mind we can pick who are family is. I have grown to love and care for so many who I consider an adopted grandparent and how could I not I see them more then my own family. If only everyone took this poem to heart.

Mar 7 @ 6:22PM  
thanks, lisa.

Mar 7 @ 8:31PM  
I'm going to have to agree with others, it's a good poem!

Mar 7 @ 10:36PM  
Thank you MonkeyWomen yours is beautiful!!

Mar 7 @ 11:46PM  
Very touching and so true..

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A Crabby Old Man