zondag 18 augustus 2013

Cranky Old Man

Via Facebook I read a poem 'Cranky Old Man' and wanted to share it.
Looking for the original poem, I stumbled upon the following:

Message circulating via social media and email claims that a touching poem about growing old called "Cranky Old Man" was found in the possessions of an old man who died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town.

This is an Australian version of several older stories that have circulated in the United States and the UK for many years. The stories attached to this version of the poem are fictional. The scenario described in the message did not happen and the poem was not found in the belongings of an old man in a nursing home as claimed. The poem itself has a long and somewhat obscure history. The original version featured an old woman rather than an old man and is sometimes attributed to English nurse Phyllis McCormack who reportedly penned it in the 1960's. The "old man" version of the poem was apparently adapted from the original by David L. Griffith of Texas and can be seen in its original context on the poet's website.


What a great poem still! And so very suitable to publish on SPIRITUS. "The poem may actually have been written by Phyllis McCormack in 1966, who at the time was working as a nurse in a Scottish hospital."
It's about to SEE another human being. To SEE is all it takes.
Well, being a ZIENer (zien is to see in Dutch), I couldn't agree more!


Crabbit Old Woman



What do you see, nurses what do you see

Are you thinking when you are looking at me

A crabbit old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes,

Who dribbles her 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 for ever is losing a stocking or shoe,

Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will

With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill

Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see,

Then open your eyes, nurses, you're not looking at me.




I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

As I used at your bidding, as I eat at your will,

I am a small child of ten with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters who love one another,

A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet

Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet;

A bride at 20 -- my heart gives a leap,

Remembering the vows that I promised to keep

At 25 now I have young of my own

Who need me to build a secure, happy home;

A women of 30 my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last,

At 40 my young sons have grown and are gone;

But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn;

At 50, once more babies play around my knee.

Again we know children, my loved one me

Dark days are upon me, my husband is 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 an old woman now and nature is cruel

'tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,

There is now a stone where once was a heart

But inside this old carcass a young girl 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, nurses open and see

Not a crabbit old women look closer - see me.


My grandmother and me - 19 October 1997, nursinghome - telling her Hans and I got married


Yes my sweet grandmother, I SEE you. I see you, hear you, am you. ♥ Everdina Driessen-van Bon, RIP. (she died not long after this photo)

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