Touching Poem Found in the Pocket of a “Crabby Old Man” Who Died in a Hospital-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor includes a poem said to have been found in the pocket of an old man who died in a hospital in Florida.  

The Truth:

The story about the old man (in some versions described as 100 years old) is a fabrication.

The poem, titled Too Soon Old, was written by Dave Griffith of Fort Worth, Texas.  Griffith told that he wrote the poem more than 20 years ago and that he meant for it to be simple and to the point, from youth through old age in his own personal life, high school football, Marines, marriage, the ravages of his own disabilities. 

It was brought to our attention that this poem is an adaptation of “Crabbit Old Woman” by Phyllis McCormack who was a nurse at the Sunnyside Royal Hospital in Hillside, north of Montrose, Scotland.

Someone took the poem from his site, created a false story about it, and started it circulating on the Internet. 

Griffith is the author of more than 500 poems, which are posted on his personal website.  TruthOrFiction.Com had to remove the link to Griffith’s site after Google posted a warning that there might be malicious files on the site that could harm the computers of those who visit it.

Posted  10/09/09   Updated 2/08/14

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa , Florida , it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses wer e 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 Missouri . The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News
Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

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

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.


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!