Mak Filiser didn’t really live an extraordinary life – just that he went to live up to the age of 82, when he died, quite silently, in a nursing home. Nurses didn’t know a lot about him. Also, as is the case with most people in a nursing home, no one really looked for him during his last days on Earth.
Recently he became viral shortly after he died. It’s because of a poem one of the nurses discovered while they were cleaning up his room. Mak had written this poem, to everyone’s amazement. It has since become one of the most thought-provoking pieces on old age and death in recent memory.
Before you read Mak’s poem, consider this question: what have you done for the more elderly members of your family to make them remember how much you value them? Do they know you love them? That you cherish them? Because if they don’t, then Mak’s poem will definitely open your eyes to the harsh realities of becoming old and lonely.
Hopefully this poem will make you take some action, because family is everything:
Cranky Old Man By Mak Filiser
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 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.