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The 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.

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
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!

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