Cranky Old Man

photo on facebookSometimes on Facebook something really nice comes up and I share it so others may feel what I felt looking at that photo or reading that piece be it funny, sad or heartfelt but this piece I really loved and I wanted to share it but keep it too, so I’m adding it to my online diary so the day I am old and grey I can look back and read and be inspired by the Old Cranky Man.

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 meagre 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 old man’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.
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’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!

The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched.
They must be felt by the heart


  1. Trevpoddy
    August 10, 2012 / 11:01 AM

    Loved the poem we forget that old people were young once.

    • August 10, 2012 / 8:42 PM

      It’s beautiful isn’t it and you’re right we forget the old have had lives, they’ve loved, and laughed and seen and been. More importantly we’ll be old one day too ;)

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