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 a poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . .What do you see?
What are you thinking when you look 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 a 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 10…with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters…who love one another.
A young boy of 16 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,
And a need to provide them…a secure happy home.
A man of 30…my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other…with ties that should last.
At 40 my young sons…have grown and are gone,
But my wife is beside me…to see I don't mourn.
Look! My young are both rearing…young of their own.
And I think of the years…and the loves that I've known.
Grandchildren so precious…how quick they've grown.
At 50 once more…babies play 'round my knee',
Again, we know children…my beloved and me.
Dark days are upon me…my wife is now gone,
My future seems bleak…I feel quite alone.
I'm now an old man…and nature is cruel;
Seems like yesterday…my children in school.
Time marches on…the mind starts to fade,
And memories bend… to the ravages of age.
The body, it crumbles… grace and vigor depart,
There now is confusion in head and in 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 cling to the truth…that God's love will last!
Though death will embrace…all who now live,
Blessed Hope is eternal…for those who believe.
Open your eyes nurse…He surrounds, can’t you see,
Not a cranky old man…but Jesus in ME!
Reflection Story Note: The ending to this anonymous poem was revised by Dr. Gary Hartman before it was posted on ReflectionStories.com - Remember this poem when you next meet a person in their 80's and beyond...can you find the young soul hiding inside?