Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Crabby Old Man

 I received  an email this morning that just touched my heart. It contained a poem the writer of which is listed as anonymous. There is a bit of a preamble. It describes an elderly gentleman alone, in poor health and unable to care for himself any more. I am not sure but he was in a hospital, care home or some such. He felt old and so feeble he had nothing left to contribute to society. among his things a nurse found this poem he had written. This gentleman made a huge contribution to society, I am sure throughout his life and with this poem:     

 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, 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’s 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 . . . . . 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.
       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!!

       **Remember this poem when you next meet****an older person who
       you might brush aside****without looking at the young soul

       **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*

6 Responses to Dying Man’s Daily Journal – Crabby Old Man

  1. Betty says:

    Bill…..I am so glad you shared this poem. I have seen it before and it always touches my heart. It reminded/reminds me of my Mother who spent 4 years in a rural personal care home. She was not crabby, but at times frustrated. She undestood pretty much everything but could not communicate very well. She was fortunate to have loving, understanding and caring caregivers who treated her with respect, gave her privacy, and over the time of her stay most of them loved her. However, I know in my Mother’s heart and mind the words shared in the poem reflected her feelings. I also know, she passed away at age 98 knowing she was loved by many. Yes, “everyone look closer….and see me.” What a wonderful quote!

    I Betty I agree it is great, who ever wrote it deserves a big pat on the back and more. Your mother sounds to have been a wonderful woman. I am sure you miss her greatly.

  2. Mel says:

    I’m thinking it says a lot that I’m attracted to the crabby ones.
    I mean that with all due respect. They’re the ones that I sneak close to, sit next to, and hope that I can weasel my way into their head and eventually into their heart.

    Someone stuck around to work their way past my gruff, offensive package to find a way into my heart and it made the world of difference to my whole LIFE.

    I find it amusing that I gravitate TOWARDS them, instead of inching away as folks tend to do. I guess I figured they were protecting something really, really valuable with that gruff exterior–something I must really, really need.
    And honestly….*looks around for witnesses* I enjoy the challenge. 😀

    Mel,picture me sitting back in my chair looking very thoughtful. Thinking, “hmm, she is attracted to the crabby ones and she keeps coming here to my blog, hmmm? LOL I know what you mean. I understand what you are saying. AT this stage in my life I need to stay as relaxed and stress free as I can. By that I mean if someone doesn’t treat me well (fairly) I have no time for them.

  3. Noel says:

    I am not very computer savvy, but I wanted to change the address of my blog, so I did it in a way where my viewers will have to type http://www.livingthekingdom.wordpress.com to have access to it, not by clicking on the old link to my blog. If anybody has an easier way to help viewers have access to my blog using the new address, please let me know. God bless!

    hi Noel,sorry I am not a computer guy at all. Maybe someone will reply with advice for you. Have you tried contacting wordpress.

  4. pattiredd says:

    Oh how beautiful and heartfelt. In January we moved our biz into a a new office, and the young girl in the adjoining office warned me, “watch out for the mailman – he’s a real grouch.” Sure enough, the first time we met him, he was grumping and grumbling. Mornings that I make it into the office, find me putting a small bunch of flowers and incense outside of our front door…last week our “grumpy” mailman stopped me, and said, “thank you for the flowers and incense…I’m Buddhist, and I appreciate those flowers and incense–it’s a celebration of life.”

    We ended up in a long conversation and had a wonderful 15 minute talk and laugh together. Grumpy old man, my butt. My, we can sure make assumptions, can’t we??

    what a nice thing it was that you did. Assuming one of the worst things we can do, which in my life any way has been proven over and over again. Nice to hea from you and is good to hear from you via email

  5. Mary says:

    I knew you would enjoy the poem and I am glad you shared it on your blog. Take care Bill.

    Hi Mary, I indeed liked it very much. Thank you for sending it and all the other messages. Hope all is well with you. Please say high to everyone in P.A.

  6. Pankaj says:

    I am 45 and single, I wonder what my poem will be lying on my death bed. The poem really makes you wonder about life and the the struggle through it only to end up crabby old and probably unwanted

    Pattam India

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