Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not just a Cranky Old Man!

 When appearances can be deceiving!

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 is appearing in magazines 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.
this was posted to my facebook and really did touch my heart.  I decided to share it with you all in the hope that it gives us all a better understanding of what our community of elderly may feel as we watch them or treat them with unsympathetic eyes...

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, sa 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!!


Not only did this poem touch my heart, but someone posted a reply by a nurse on the same site and I have to say that too evoked a very emotional response.  It is so apt, so touching and so endearing, that I felt it was necessary to put these two side by side.

A Nurses reply - - by Liz Hogben
What do we see, you ask, what do we see?  Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee.
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss but there's many of you and too few of us.

We would like far more time to sit by you and talk to bath you and feed you and help you to walk.
To hear of your lives and the things you have done your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.

But time is against us, there's too much to do - Patients too many and nurses too few
We grieve when we see you so sad and alone with nobody near you, no friends of your own
We feel all your pain, and know of your fear that nobody cares now your end is so near.

But nurses are people with feelings as well and when we're together you'll often hear tell
Of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed and the lovely old Dad and the things that he said
We speak with compassion and love, and feel sad when we think of your lives and the joy that you've had.

When the time has arrived for you to depart you leave us behind with an ache in our heart
when you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care there are other people, and we must be there.  So please understand if we hurry and fuss. There are many of you and too few of us!!

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