Facebook is renowned for circulating urban myths and legends. Always one to not want to be fooled, but don’t want to miss the truth if it’s out there, I often make reference to www.hoaxslayer.com
This poem was on my newsfeed today. Something about the photo caught my eye and so I read on. Sure the scenario turns out to be fake, but it got me thinking…something I have lots of time to do on a wet , cold first day of holidays.
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 t…he 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 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 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!!
After reading this I began to contemplate my thoughts on what the author was trying to express. Maybe they were just talking about the aged but my opinion is the ideals within the poem can go much further. How easy is it for us to view others from our own shoes rather than considering those they are walking in.
We see young children around us. How often have you heard people complain they are too loud, moving too fast, breaking something. “That would never have happened in my day”, “I’m too busy I have (insert whatever it is adults / older siblings do) I can’t play with you”, “I haven’t got time to coach a junior team”. Young children are just opening their eyes to the world. They have so much to offer yet can be overlooked because too often too many see experience as only coming with age. I work with children and I could write a book based on the classic wisdoms that come from their mouths.
Not a time consuming child .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME (one full of enthusiasm, zealous, not jaded, maybe loud and fast but there is so much to try)!!
Picture today’s youth. “Too outspoken”, “No manners”, “Spend too much time on electronic gadgets”, “Don’t socialise correctly”, “Have life too easy ”,“ Too full of self-worth”. They have grown up in an era where we have moved beyond communication being limited by distance. They live in a world where ‘friends’ may have wider concept than it did before. Their mode of communication may be different than it was but expression of feelings, ideas, beliefs and desires are still important. Having two grown up children I have witnessed their passions for such things as universal well-being of all, fights for justice, desires to conform, desires to be different. They may want different justices etc but they still have the same desire to be heard as did others before them. Does it really matter if they call friends parents by their first name not “Mrs/ Mr”. Should their wisdoms be dismissed and all we see are youth dressing different and walking around with an electronic device attached with love to their hand? Can we not learn to LOL , txt and share emoticons as we converse opening ourselves to a wider friendship circle. Dare I admit to having a friend I met via an internet game on an ipad app?? LOL 🙂
Not an obnoxious youth .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME (The passionate, caring one eager to try new things and excited that the world boundaries are gone)
Then there’s that time that stretches out. I’m going to call it mature years though that may only be in namesake lol) . It takes us along the journey of life from when we leave the technical youth years until we reach the old person referred to in the poem, the one who has seen all seasons. We demand parking spots in shopping centres be it for our pram or our age. “Don’t visit the aged parents enough”, “Wear clothes that aren’t appropriate” (the audacity of a grandma in shorts let alone swimmers!) “Won’t mind the grandkids so I HAVE to send them to childcare – so selfish”, “Don’t understand us youth”.” Puts the children in day care so they can work – so selfish” “Work to have expensive holidays and don’t save for old age”. Just as others before us have done we want the best for our families, we are just as loving and caring. The world is different. We might have different ideals such as the larger home, more cars, overseas trips but it’s still with the best in mind. Who decides what’s best…does difference have to be graded?
Not an greedy, uncaring mature person.
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME ( The one who realises with careful planning you possibly can have it all)
And so to bring my rambles together, I think we need to remember we all bring a bucket full of experiences to the table. They are all valuable to us and can be of use to all if shared . When you observe the actions of another, look first through their bucket. Value them in whole, sneak a few things from them and your bucket will soon be brimming with exciting new dreams and a picture of the world coloured in a way you have never seen before.