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http://www.sundaypost.com/news-views/uk/the-true-story-behind-the-cranky-old-man-internet-poem-that-has-become-world-famous-1.253698
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.
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!

old man walking

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!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
I am reading this poem, over and over again and I can’t stop crying. My soul volcano has erupted and hot lava of memories
surging burns my heart.
My father passed away on August 21, 2005 and my mother (early stage of Alzheimer, with selective memory) followed him
on May 5, 2009.

““.What do you see?
What are you thinking .. ”

I was making a cheese pie, the other day when I thought my parents would have fallen off the clouds had they seen me make a pie with home-made dough.
Come to think of it, I never made pies let alone other things, when they were alive. I didn’t know how and I wasn’t interested as mom was always there to make them.
I started learning to do lots of new things after they passed away. It seems that their loss ignited my need to fill the gap they left behind. Their loss matured me and brought my feet to the ground. I long to share the new person I have become and this person’s experiences with them but I can’t.
This hurts the most and the wound won’t heal. It is still bleeding.

“I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.”

I keep telling my students to spend more time with their parents… to share every single minute of their life with them…
but they won’t listen.
They can’t understand why! Why spend time with them?
They laugh. “Oh, Miss Ann Marie “, they say, “ you have grown old “.

“.What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise, “

Youths are selfish creatures and can be cruel at times.
They fight hard to free themselves from bonds that keep them tied down to their parents and family. (I know, I was a teenager once…) They take parents for granted, believing they will always be there to turn to should problems arise.
They are shortsighted. The future very soon will become present but they can’t see it. They don’t want to accept the fact that their parents won’t be there forever.
They want to fly away from the nest. But much later in life when they grow up and find answers to this “WHY”, they will realize it is too late to bring time back and parents are gone.
Whose fault is this? Nobody’s fault. This is life and it can be tough at times. But we could change it and gain a lot out of this change. Parents should teach their children at a very early age
how to share and enjoy moments of their life with them . They must do things together… living life – not chasing it…
Children on the other hand, must find the time or at least some time to get closer to their parents. They must learn to listen to what they have to say. They must realize that nothing can be taken for granted.
Including parents in our life can make the difference
Life is too short to be wasted in a selfish manner.

“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!

© Ann Marie Zagorianos

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