When Mark Filiser, an old man, died at the geriatric ward of a nursing home, the stuff thought he’d left nothing of value. But soon, they realized they’d made a mistake.


Old age is never easy. Old, weak, ill… This is what old age means for most people. And having to spend the last years of your life surrounded by strangers makes old age even more difficult to bear.

Unfortunately, most seniors have no other option, but a nursing home to live in.

And although a nursing home is a place which provides medical care along with physical, speech and occupational therapy for the old who don’t need to stay in a hospital, but can’t be cared for at home, they rarely offer emotional support to their residents. And this is often more important than medical attention.

When Mark Filiser, an old man, died at the geriatric ward of a nursing home, the stuff thought he’d left nothing of value. But soon, they realized they’d made a mistake.

What they found was a beautiful poem called Cranky Old Man which the old man had written days before his death. The poem left everyone lost for words, and the nurse in charge made sure all employees got copies of the heart-breaking lyrics.


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 . . . ..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 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 vigour, 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!!

If this poem has touched your heart, make sure you never forget that an old body may actually be hiding a young spirit willing to live. So, the next time you meet an old person, look deeper – look for the man that once lived in that helpless body.

This poem may touch many more hearts, so feel free to share and enlighten others too.

Has it touched yours?

Jocelyn Daher

I have been a herbal healing alchemist ever since I was old enough to pretend I was the Dr. Quinn Medicine woman equivalent. I am into studying astrological charts as well as how astrology relates to current events. I was a chiropractic assistant for two years, within that time I received my yoga teacher certification, which now I use as a bookmark but I acquired some neat information on how to direct and play with energy in my body. I see every person as an extension of my family. My passion is reminding humanity how to love, in hopes to ignite the memory that you are in fact a walking embodiment of universal perfection! Feel free to join me on Facebook here: Jocelyn Daher or Check out my website at: JocelynDaher.com