Cranky Old Man — A Poem Reminding Us Of Life


Here’s a poem to provide a reminder that age brings experience and experiences are somewhat overlooked when reaching later stages of life. This poem was written by Phyllis McCormack with a few changes done by Dave Griffith. 

It was though that an old man who passed away at a nursing home in an Australian country town had nothing left of any value.

The nurses sifted through his meager belongings. They stumbled upon this poem. The content and quality of the poem impressed them so much that copies were made and sent around to ever nurse in the nursing home.

One of the nurses decided to take her copy back Melbourne. It’s said that the old man’s poem has since appeared in magazines for mental health, including Christmas editions.

Cranky Old Man — A Poem
Photo by Helgi Halldórsson (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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,
nut 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!!!

You may recall this poem the next time you run into an older person. Sometimes we brush forget that they have gone through a long experience in this life, but inside there is both a young and old soul.

One day we will all be there, if you are not already.

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


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Laron is an energetic healer, past life therapist, consciousness guide, poet,writer and editor from New Zealand. A strong passion of his is to expand the consciousness of others. Editor of the metaphysical site, Laron is also a bit of a bookworm. Trained by Dolores Cannon in QHHT (Past Life Regression) and Energetic Healing by well-known Australian intuitive and healer Stephen Bishop, Laron is also a Reiki Master, Crystal Healer and Tarot reader.

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