Too Soon Old

A very touching poem has been winging its way across the Internet for a couple of years now, but I just recently read it for the first time. Often entitled “Crabby Old Man,” you may have already seen it, but it’s worth another read.

As the story goes . . . when an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, it was believed that he had left nothing 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. And this crabby old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this “anonymous” poem that has touched hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people across the country and the world.

It is good to remember this poem whenever you meet an older person who you might otherwise brush aside. Remember that they have a young soul within.

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 . . . 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!!

In actuality, according to the Website, this poem is entitled Too Soon Old and was written over 20 years ago by a gentleman named Dave Griffith of Fort Worth, Texas. Regardless of the source, this poem is a touching reminder of why I and my fellow Elder Law attorneys, and all senior-serving professionals, work hard every day to help our clients — our country’s elders – maintain their dignity and quality of life at a time when much of the world dismisses them.

The Farr Law Firm specializes in helping elders maintain their dignity and quality of life. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or nearing the need for such care, please let us help.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.