Posted in Aged Care, Working with Elderly

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

(Originally ‘Crabbit Old Woman’ by Phyllis McCormack (1966); adapted by Dave Griffith)

Reflections…

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie

Author:

Dollie Dogood: Professional Carer & Elder Enthusiast. Assisting older adults to remain living happily ever after in their own homes - DIGNITY INTACT. Jotting down the good bits.

7 thoughts on “Cranky Old Man

    1. Yes, it’s definitely one of my faves – be it the man or the woman version. Interesting the stories that surround it’s origin, too… although the fictional one about it being written by a nursing home resident and then being discovered by a nurse after they passed is way sweeter!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m caring for a 97-year-old man with the help of in-home hospice care and a private health care professional. This poem touched me very deeply to remember his point of view, his feelings. He is my husband.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Carol, lovely to meet you and thanks for the comment. Yes it’s a simple, yet poignant slap-in-the-face poem that I think works perfectly to help us realise that the older people in our lives were once US…. and that one day, if we are lucky, we could indeed be THEM.
      After a browse of your most charming blog, I think your own “cranky old man” is lucky to have you! And with his twinkly eyes and that cheeky grin, I bet he enjoys keeping you on your toes!
      Cheers, Dollie.

      Like

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