Cranky Old Man - What do you see nurses?

by brian Admin

9,303 Views | 18 Comments

A wonderful reminder to look past the obvious. 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. 20

    Cranky Old Man - What do you see nurses?

    This poem has been passed around for decades, some nurses say they saw it back in the 70's. However, it's a great reminder especially with the new year near approaching.

    as the story goes...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 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 vigor, 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!

    PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM (originally by Phyllis McCormack; adapted by Dave Griffith)

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

    This is also posted on the Nurses Rock facebook page here for easy sharing.
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 28, '13
    nurse_nellie, Levitas, HappyWife77, and 17 others like this.
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  4. About brian

    brian joined Mar '98 - from 'Minnesota'. brian has '18+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele'. Posts: 15,144 Likes: 15,201; Learn more about brian by visiting their allnursesPage Website


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    18 Comments so far...

  5. 3
    A much needed reminder! Be a kind nurse to cranky old people... don't you hope to get a good nurse when you're one?!
    Squad51KMG365, imabator, and brian like this.
  6. 5
    We need to remember this of every patient.
    Nola009, nurse_nellie, NutmeggeRN, and 2 others like this.
  7. 5
    I love the cranky patients, I make it my mission to make them smile or chuckle.
    Squad51KMG365, tokmom, cazach0122, and 2 others like this.
  8. 1
    I love my cranky people too!!
    Squad51KMG365 likes this.
  9. 0
    Awww
  10. 0
    i love this poem
  11. 2
    This is a good reminder to look at a person within, regardless of how they seem from the outside.
    cardiacfreak and Squad51KMG365 like this.
  12. 4
    Yeah and how about cranky patients of any age take a look inside themselves and find a more joyful version of themselves, rather than just spreading the misery. We all have burdens to carry, but not all of us take it out on the world at large.
    Hygiene Queen, OCNRN63, Fiona59, and 1 other like this.
  13. 0
    Thank you! A great reminder when I'm taking care of my elderly mom...


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