The following poem is currently doing the rounds of social networking sites with the title of “Crabby Old Man” and was supposedly written by a dying old man in a nursing home. After a little investigation I learned that the poem was lifted from the real author’s web site and circulated with a heart warming but false story.
It’s a beautiful poem, but the real author–Dave Griffith–needs to be attributed.
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, 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.
‘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
And now and again 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!!