While this isn't a "treasure" from my ancestors, it is a treasure nonetheless.
I was a geriatric nurse for thirteen years, and this poem has touched me more times than I care to think about.
"CRABBY OLD MAN
When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska, 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 Missouri . The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.
Crabby Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . . when you're looking at me?
A crabby 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's 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 ... . . . . . . . . .. 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.
Tis 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 guy 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 crabby 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
The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart.
God Bless All who read this Poem
and send it to those on
"YOUR" mailing list"
Many years ago, as I cared for an elderly woman in the nursing home where I worked, she grabbed my hand and put it to her chest.
"What do you see?", she asked me. "What do you see when you look at me?"
I kind of hemmed and hawed, and eventually I said "I see a very lovely woman."
"Do you know that when I look in the mirror I see this old, wrinkled body staring back at me. And each time I look," she said, "I am amazed. For in here" [at this point she touched my hand to her chest, indicating her heart], "in here, I am a girl of sixteen still! I long for my beau to come and take my hand, and go for a long walk with me! In here, I still have hopes and dreams!!!"
I have never forgotten that.
Please, if you have an elderly person in your life, never forget, regardless their disposition or abilities today, inside is the person they used to be. That young man, or young woman, who once was.