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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:38 AM

'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet

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 meagre 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.

nb - this is just a convenient link : one of many now : http://kraabel.tumblr.com/post/27651955273/when-an-old-man-died-in-the-geriatric-ward-of-a

Do please read the entire poem.

69 replies, 11591 views

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Arrow 69 replies Author Time Post
Reply 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet (Original post)
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 OP
hlthe2b Nov 2012 #1
xchrom Nov 2012 #2
psychmommy Nov 2012 #3
MADem Nov 2012 #4
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #5
MADem Nov 2012 #6
Voice for Peace Nov 2012 #21
MADem Nov 2012 #41
silentwarrior Nov 2012 #19
KarenS Nov 2012 #7
MADem Nov 2012 #36
Gore1FL Nov 2012 #8
jillan Nov 2012 #33
wakemewhenitsover Nov 2012 #35
MADem Nov 2012 #37
calimary Nov 2012 #51
LeftishBrit Nov 2012 #13
SheilaT Nov 2012 #15
heaven05 Nov 2012 #23
SheilaT Nov 2012 #30
heaven05 Nov 2012 #31
MADem Nov 2012 #38
heaven05 Nov 2012 #46
MADem Nov 2012 #57
heaven05 Nov 2012 #61
MADem Nov 2012 #62
LineLineLineReply I
heaven05 Nov 2012 #47
vduhr Nov 2012 #16
MADem Nov 2012 #39
heaven05 Nov 2012 #48
MADem Nov 2012 #63
heaven05 Nov 2012 #49
heaven05 Nov 2012 #25
MADem Nov 2012 #40
heaven05 Nov 2012 #50
MADem Nov 2012 #54
heaven05 Nov 2012 #60
MADem Nov 2012 #64
heaven05 Nov 2012 #65
heaven05 Nov 2012 #66
MADem Nov 2012 #67
heaven05 Nov 2012 #68
MADem Nov 2012 #69
skepticscott Nov 2012 #26
Squinch Nov 2012 #34
dangin Nov 2012 #9
MADem Nov 2012 #42
dangin Nov 2012 #45
MADem Nov 2012 #55
dangin Nov 2012 #58
MADem Nov 2012 #59
MrMickeysMom Nov 2012 #10
Uncle Joe Nov 2012 #11
AnotherMother4Peace Nov 2012 #12
plethoro Nov 2012 #14
alfredo Nov 2012 #17
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #27
alfredo Nov 2012 #43
Window Nov 2012 #29
alfredo Nov 2012 #44
TrogL Nov 2012 #18
heaven05 Nov 2012 #20
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #22
Mojorabbit Nov 2012 #24
Window Nov 2012 #28
jillan Nov 2012 #32
MADem Nov 2012 #56
LineReply .
rug Nov 2012 #52
Diclotican Nov 2012 #53

Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:44 AM

1. OMG.. that is incredible

compelling, and more than a little hear-breaking....

Thank you for sharing

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:44 AM

2. du rec. nt

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:47 AM

3. I am crying in the laundramat

Beautiful.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:13 AM

4. This has been "winging across the internet" for almost two decades.

And the crabby man is sometimes cranky, and sometimes he is a woman, and sometimes he is from Florida, or Oklahoma, or who-knows-where.

In actual fact, the author is known--he is a guy named Griffith from Texas....or maybe the author is a woman named Phyllis McCormack from the UK who wrote the poem in the 1960's....but this thing pops up like a fart in the bathtub every six months or so, like clockwork, nearly...and always attributed to some "anonymous" old guy in some "anonymous" nursing home in some far away city.

Examples:

http://thesteadydrip.blogspot.com/2009/10/crabby-old-man-too-much-for-me-on-sunny.html

http://www.usenetmessages.com/view.php?c=alternative&g=4589&id=222982&p=0 (here, she's a woman from Dundee)

http://www.newstruth.co.uk/the-cranky-old-man/

http://www.palletmastersworkshop.com/old2.html (attributed to the TX author, here)

http://www.devlin-family.com/crabbitoldwoman.htm (attributed to the UK woman, here)

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/c/crabby-old-man.htm (the rest of the story)

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=13896


Just the tip of the iceberg, here...I've been getting this thing forwarded to me from well meaning friends since the nineties.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:19 AM

5. I did wonder

but it obviously must be new to a lot of folk. Its currently got over 50,000 shares on FB and that's only from one of the links.

Whatever - I still think its good and merits reading.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:25 AM

6. FB is like Star Trek, only it's "The Next Generation!"

It's frighteningly easy to get people to "share" and "like" just about anything, I think.

I remember reading this old heart-tugging chestnut when emails were in their infancy, and graphics were scarce and painful--very hard on that limited, dial up bandwidth.

I don't know which author actually wrote it, but it sounds more like UK than TX, if I had to choose.


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Response to MADem (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:06 PM

21. When I was 30 I saw an old man crossing the street, slowly & carefully

and I saw that he used to be 30.
One of those moments.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:42 PM

41. I still feel like I'm 16 in many ways.

When I was 16, I felt like my whole life was before me and my possibilities were infinite.

I still feel that way in a lot of ways, even though age has taken its toll and I'm closer to the end than the beginning.

That said, there's no need for anyone to make up the origins of a thoughtful poem in an effort to improve it, when all that does is ruin it--make it tacky and cheesy. It stands just fine without embellishment, even with "Author Unknown" after it.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:02 PM

19. Absolutely beautiful!

I found the poem touching. I only wish our senior citizens were more

respected and looked after when these men and women have to be cared

for in nursing homes and hospitals, not be subject to ignorance and cruelty in many cases.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:39 AM

7. you know,,,, to me it doesn't really matter who wrote it or where it came from,,,,

we all have a story, a history,,,,,

it is good to be reminded of that from time to time.

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Response to KarenS (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:51 PM

36. Well, no one is saying that we don't all have a story or that we shouldn't be reminded of it.

That aspect of this little poetic ditty isn't diminished in the slightest by the additional information that the heartstrings-tugging line of bullshit at the beginning, with the old man/woman from Australia/Scotland/Florida/Arizona (name your favorite geezer playground) being the author of the piece is just NOT TRUE. It saves people from passing it on, lock, stock and barrel with that bogus, phony, diminishing backstory. They can still pass it on with "origin unknown/disputed" and not be one of "those people" who never check Snopes or other sources when they find something that just doesn't pass the full smell test.

Question everything. It's what keeps you young, even when the hair on your head is either gray or absent. Take it from one who knows!

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:49 AM

8. I am amazed that this anonymous person

was able to not only write such a nice poem, but also stop Karl Rove from stealing Ohio!

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:52 PM

33. hahahahahahahahahahhaahaaa!!!!!!!! You are so right - that anonymous is really something.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:39 PM

35. lol



...and you're right. Gore did win FL.

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:52 PM

37. OK--that was hilarious!!! nt

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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:17 PM

51. Oh crap!

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:39 AM

13. It's in fact been passed around for at least four decades

The UK woman's version of the poem appears, under the name of 'Kate', in 'Elders', an anthology of poems by elderly people, most of them previously unpublished, which was published by the East London community publishers, Centerprise Trust, in 1973. The book is interesting though hard to get hold of; one of numerous books, mostly poetry or autobiography by previously unpublished working-class people, that Centerprise published in the 1970s and 1980s. The rest of the poems are by much more clearly identifiable individuals who give their full names.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:53 AM

15. Thanks. I was thinking it had to be an urban legend.

Listen up everyone. At least 98% of the time when you are forwarded something cringy-worthy either in terms of being heartwarming glurge, or the "OMG! This is awful and send it to everyone you know!", these things are not, I repeat NOT true and have usually been circulating for some time.

At least 98% of the time. Maybe more. It's probably closer to 99.99%, but I haven't done a sufficiently thorough statistical analysis of these things to venture the higher figure.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #15)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:13 PM

23. It's

still fucking heartfelt. God people are so cynical and disparaging on this site sometimes. So goddam what if it's a 'urban legend'. You listen up! People like you can never, ever teach me anything about life. This poem does.. Movie, urban legend, whatever, it states a beautiful fact/sentiment with words. The mind and heart can conceive very beautiful sentiments. THE POEM"S MEANING IS WHAT COUNTS NOT YOUR OPINION OF IT"S ORIGIN! People like you make me puke.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #23)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:51 PM

30. What I'm pointing out is that the origins are an important part

of the email or FB posting or whatever.

If the poem were offered simply as is, then great. I'd find it somewhat moving. But presented like this, with the claim it was written recently by some elderly person to me actually takes away from the meaning.

I guess we only want to fact-check Republicans?

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #30)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:26 PM

31. to

you only

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #23)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:00 PM

38. No one said "it" was an urban legend. Someone wrote the thing, but that someone wasn't a pathetic

old man or woman in a nursing home in Australia or Florida or Dundee. It more likely was solmeone who CARED for pathetic old men and women in a nursing home.

No one is carping about the poem itself--it's the lie that precedes it that irritates.

So you might want to "listen up" and read what the objection actually is, here. The poem is fine--the FALSE ATTRIBUTION is the problem.

I won't say people like you make me puke, like you just did to Sheila, because they don't--I find you temperamental, unreasonably angry for no good reason, and a bit pathetic, though, for being so nasty to Sheila when YOU were the one who didn't read very carefully in the first place. You really owe Sheila an apology.

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Response to MADem (Reply #38)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:15 PM

46. yes

i am temperamental, very angry for a multitude of good reasons and your judgement of my being pathetic for being rough on Sheila is not without merit. But don't judge me with a criteria that might just be flawed. Maybe it was a rush to judgement by me.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #46)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:07 AM

57. Let her know that, she might not see your response to me. nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #57)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:31 AM

61. I.ve

done that, so don't go away mad, just go away.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #61)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:39 AM

62. How charming you are. After you, my dear. nt

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #15)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:22 PM

47. I

apologize for my misunderstanding your meaning and my rush to judgement of you as a person. Madem is right about a few things in my personality but wrong about causes. He/she has not walked in my shoes as I have not theirs. No excuse for my behavior toward you. I still like the poem.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:57 AM

16. It doesn't matter.....

It's the meaning of the poem, not how much it gets passed around, or how many times the story of the poem's origin is changed.

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Response to vduhr (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:09 PM

39. The meaning is diminished by the phony attribution and the bullshit "front story."

The thing stands on its own without that crappy fake story, tacked on by some ninny trying to gild a lily.

If I had to pick a likely author, I'd say the McCormack woman -- a nurse who cared for elderly people --is probably the best bet; better than a guy from Texas or an old man or woman.

I'd like to know, definitively, who wrote it--because attribution is important and it DOES matter. It probably matters to that author, or that author's descendants, that people know who was responsible for a work that has the capability to pluck at a few heartstrings.

This kind of stuff irritated George Carlin no end--he didn't like it one bit when people "attributed" shit to him that he never said, didn't write and didn't agree with...but people 'credited' him with, because it "sounded like" him. It's the same sort of affront when the work of a real person with a real name and a real backstory has THEIR role obliterated by some jerk who wants to put a "topper" on the tale, because they want to "pee on the tree" and add to something that does not need any embellishment.

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Response to MADem (Reply #39)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:25 PM

48. you've

never pissed on a tree? Just asking.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #48)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:45 AM

63. Not to embellish the creation of another, no, I have not.

A editor who cares about the subject matter does well to exercise RESTRAINT. The stupid and plainly phony "old man/woman" and "nursing home in (name city where old people go to die)" pee damn near killed the tree. A simple "Origin disputed, but this is most certainly a work that we all would do well to keep in mind" is REAL. The poem didn't need that horrible "help" at the outset. It almost ruined it.

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Response to vduhr (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:30 PM

49. it's

okay to like the poem, attribution or not being true. I like it a lot as an expression of life lived.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:17 PM

25. yeah

I hope it keeps winging across the internet. It teaches. Period. Don't care if it was found last week or been around since 'the taming of the shrew'. IT TEACHES. You're not.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #25)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:17 PM

40. It apparently hasn't taught you to read what people are actually saying about the poem.

Again--since you're not taking the point, the POEM IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

The bullshit frippery at the front, with the fake attribution is.

An author deserves credit for their work, and if that author is not known, it's best to say so, rather than try to attribute the work falsely and wrongly to someone invented out of some lame ass email-writer's head.

I've learned a lot from you--none of it terribly edifying. I've learned that you are a short-tempered person who doesn't read very carefully and likes to lash out for no good reason on the internet at people who don't agree with you.

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Response to MADem (Reply #40)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:58 PM

50. insults

are not very edifying. My temper is mine. Thank you very much. And I disagree with you, people can disagree with me, and if right they will get my acquiescence of the point. Flaws in my character are not your purview. Please refrain in the future from your insults. I read and write quite well and sometimes make mistakes in understanding another person's meaning on a subject. I don't care if you ever learn from me anything edifying. My purpose here is to judge how much people are willing to take before they say, no more of this BS. I have helped and taught a multitude of people in my lifetime and have had excellent response to the results. I am no worse or better than any individual here. You included. Please refrain from insulting me.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #50)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:02 AM

54. I am not insulting you when I point out facts.

You own your own behavior. All I did was call attention to it. Your character flaws are my purview when I see them in full flower, denigrating another member here, because you failed to read what was actually written.

I never claimed to be "better" than anyone, and I didn't "insult" you--I pointed out your conduct. Nothing more.

My purpose here is to participate in this forum, as I've done for years--if your purpose is to "judge how much people are willing to take before they say, no more of this BS" well good for you. I'm here for the conversations. It helps to read what others actually say in order to participate in those conversations, I have found.

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Response to MADem (Reply #54)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:29 AM

60. you

have made your point on my behavior. I apologized to Sheila, not you, no purpose and if you must continue to denigrate me and try to shame me, I suggest....well I'll leave that up to your imagination. I prefer, from you, no more correspondence of any type. If I get on someones case and make a mistake, I own it and yes can admit it. So stop trying to make yourself look like a better person than I because you by continuing to degrade me have shown your own inability to shut up when point is made. That, to me, certainly shows an immature adult. So you have been on here for years? Well good for you. Now jerk, leave me alone. And I repeat my flaws ARE NOT your purview, oh holier than thou little g god of DU.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #60)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:51 AM

64. I'm not trying to do anything of the sort. Please do not mischaracterize me or my motive.

You're the only one doing that, and I don't understand quite why. I guess that's your particular issue--perhaps you might try "owning" that as well.

You're the one calling me names like "jerk" and you expect me to not notice? You've demonstrated some hideous netiquette here--and that's ALL on YOU.

If anyone should be the one doing the "shutting up" it ain't me. I'm not the one being rude and nasty, you are. All I did was object to your uncivil behavior. With every post, you dig the hole ever deeper.

So long as you post on this board, your comments are subject to review and criticism, not just by me, but by everyone who participates here. That's the whole idea behind "discussion" boards--in the event that concept is not clear to you.

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Response to MADem (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 02:01 PM

65. you

are just so intelligent and wise. And yes you made your point on my behavior and my point is you don't have to continue to try to denigrate my worth. I meant everything I said in prior responses to your overweening ego and I mean this one too oh wise little g DU god. Please continue little g. rofl:

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Response to MADem (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 02:13 PM

66. you

are a character, I'll give you that. Your motives are apparent. little g DU god has to be right and have the last word. Doesn't work with me. Please proceed little g. I'm having fun.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #66)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 03:33 PM

67. You're "having fun?" They call that trolling and baiting in most quarters.

How nice of you to come right out and let us know what you are, saves the trouble of having to suss you out.

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Response to MADem (Reply #67)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 04:00 PM

68. what

Last edited Mon Nov 26, 2012, 09:45 PM - Edit history (8)

YOU said in any post after your suggestion that I owed an apology which I did before your pitiful suggestion, has NO meaning in my world. You're not getting your way with your baiting of me. Please refrain from trying to make a point that has lost it's relevance and meaning. You tried to shame me, denigrate my character because I may have had a bad day, week, month and you, being so perfect,wise and intelligent little g, should know when to quit and realize your irrelevance to me. As far as the trolling, your accusation is called projection. And I do like this site because I get a lot of my news from this site. Unlike some who use this site for their argumentative personalities. again. Oh. I forgot, yes I am having fun reading your pathetic attempts at staying relevant with your lost point driven by your, don't forget one of my prior posts, overweening ego. There is no reason to even respond to you anymore, so I shall not. It hasn't been my pleasure. Don't go away mad, just go away. thank you. See I'm being polite.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #68)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:48 AM

69. You're having a perception problem as well as an emoticon overload, apparently.

I am not "trying" to "do" anything with or to you.

And for someone who likes to talk about using "this site for their argumentative personalities" a look in your mirror might be advisable.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:25 PM

26. Why do people believe this shit

and swallow it whole every time it comes up? No wonder this country is in such a mess. Not one person in a hundred has any ability to think critically.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #26)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:33 PM

34. Or maybe people think it's worthwhile regardless of when and where it originated.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:49 AM

9. Saw the movie

This is reworking of "what do you see nurse " a film made for nursing education in the 1960s. I saw it a few years ago, and actually have the dreadful thing in my film archive. It's a nice sentiment, but this version is an urban legend.

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Response to dangin (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:49 PM

42. Is this it? This looks more modern than the sixties, actually....

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Response to MADem (Reply #42)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 05:02 PM

45. Nope

The one I have I actually digitized off of 16mm film. It features an elderly woman in a crap retirement home common decades ago.

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Response to dangin (Reply #45)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:03 AM

55. Black and white, or color? nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #55)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:08 AM

58. Desaturated color

Might have been brighter once.

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Response to dangin (Reply #58)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:34 AM

59. Ah, yes--washed out early video, or late film!!! nt

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:52 AM

10. There, for the grace of (your god) we go...

True, True, True...

We all know this sooner or later, I think. I could see this in my own family, for sure.

So, this poem should make us honor the journey as it reaches it's final mile.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:55 AM

11. Kicked and recommended for a good poem.

Thanks for the thread, dipsydoodle.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:03 AM

12. Nice - Thank you nt

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:47 AM

14. Simply majestic. I'm taking it to the Alzheimer's facility where I volunteer...I see these

 

folks every day I can see they are thinking something, but I don't know exactly what. Their families, who knew them when they were different, stay and comfort them sometimes all day. This poem gives them the humanity that some of their caregivers may forget. Thank you. I will have it out to more people who will appreciate its infinite wisdom.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:57 AM

17. "Hello In There." John Prine


&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Response to alfredo (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:26 PM

27. That's beautiful Alfredo

I've got loads of his later stuff but had never heard that which I checked and is on his very first album back in 1971.

Thanks for posting that track.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #27)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:57 PM

43. It's such a fine song.

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Response to alfredo (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:14 PM

29. That's lovely alfredo.

Thank you for sharing that beautiful song.

Peace

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Response to Window (Reply #29)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:58 PM

44. He's a good voice for the working man.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:01 PM

18. I'd like to cram that down my wife's nurses' throats

They are NOT getting the concept.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:04 PM

20. truly

great and heartfelt. That kind of feeling doesn't come from a "stone". A beautiful and poignant tribute to a life well lived

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:17 PM

24. When I was young and working as a nurse

I had an 80 something woman tell me that when she looked in the mirror she saw a stranger because inside she felt like she was still twenty. I have never forgotten it and when I see myself now in the mirror I marvel at how true her comment was.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:01 PM

28. Thank you dipsydoodle for sharing such a beautiful

and touching poem. I've never seen it and I'm spreading it far and wide.

Peace

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:49 PM

32. This is why it is important to put a picture of your loved one in their prime on the table beside

their hospital / nursing home bed.

Nurses and doctors need to see that person for who they really are, not as someone that is holding on to life.



Thanks for posting this.

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Response to jillan (Reply #32)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:04 AM

56. That is a VERY good idea. nt

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:56 PM

52. .

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Response to dipsydoodle (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:00 AM

53. Dipsydoodle

Hello

Thank You for the poem.

Diclotican

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