Do Unto Others…

You are different than me…I am different than you.  Some of you are older, some younger.  Some taller, some shorter.  Some richer, some poorer.  It is the way God designed us.  Yet to often we let the differences dictate our actions.

The poem that follows is very meaningful to me.  As we tried to find a really good retirement center for my mother’s last days we moved her several times. Mom’s dementia made her a very difficult patient.  She was sometimes a sobbing blob and sometimes an angry monster.  And everything in between. We three expected her to be treated with love, dignity and respect and that did not always happen.  We found very few caregivers who were able to put those in their care first.  When we finally found the ideal residence for her she had very few days left but those days were lived with loving caregivers who truly cared about her.

old man

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, 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 Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

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 . . . 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 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!!

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!

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

We are told to love one another…can we at least try?  John 13:34-35

Heavenly Father help us…to forget our differences…to honor and respect everyone…to love one another…  Make it so!

9 thoughts on “Do Unto Others…

  1. Pingback: A Cranky Old Man | From guestwriters

  2. What a wonderful poem and so touching the way it was found. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to pass it along to my friend who works with the elderly. I know she’ll enjoy it even more than I did. bless you, Gail


  3. I’m with Anne above, unless I look in the mirror I still think of myself as a teen! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this reminder of the value of each person no matter how old or young, thankfully God still sees us perfect in Christ!
    Sue @


  4. Thanks very much for joining us on the Ladies Only Blog Share! Your post was beautifully written.


  5. Hi Marie, thank you for sharing your thoughts and this poem too, it’s one I have shared many times, I use to have an e-mail Ministry before I started the Blog and I posted to people all over the World, I still keep in touch with some of them but I have had to change my e-mail address so many times because of hacking, I have lost contact with a lot but I hope to reach out again in this way soon, although with a different focus, out time is short.

    God tells us when an elderly person walks into a room we are to stand up, that is the type of respect we are to show them, they have life wisdom and if they are a Christian and they have asked for Godly wisdom they have a great deal to offer us.

    Sadly today they are not respected as they were, jokes about them are put downs, people make fun of their disabilities, and belittle them as people of worth, their Hymns that they know and love are being left out of a lot of worship in Churches today, even though God tells us to have a balance of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs, we all have memories that we treasure in our heart and songs remind us of them.

    God will never go against our free will, He didn’t with Jesus, we choose to Love others and ask for His Love and He then empowers us by The Holy Spirit to Love, we can’t make our flesh Love, it must be put to death by our choosing to walk in Holiness through the empowering of The Spirit.

    Thanks again Marie – Christian Love – Anne

    P.S I think I’m a Senior now and the grey hair confirms it, even if my heart doesn’t believe it.


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