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  • Another example today where I could not Sprout from Kiki’s story of the national German Book Archive: where the diaries, reflections & memorabilia of millions of Germans are collected, considered & reproduced as national treasure.

    Deutsches Tagebucharchiv is a splendid idea...exactly the kind that makes us query, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’

    The parallel to Cowbird is extraordinary & another shining example of the importance of reviving the Sprout option in the electronic protocol of

    From Sra. Suarez's Deutsches Tagebucharchiv came the heartfelt plea of Carla at 100, for a single other person with whom she might share!

    'My mind is still right there, but my heart is breaking. What I most long for is a deep and honest talk with another human being, but others see me as a 100 yr-old phenomenon, they talk small talk, stupidities, nobody is deeply interested in me. Today it is two weeks that I have not had a talk with anybody.'

    That is the spark for this Sprout!

    When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home
    it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
    Later, going through his meagre possessions
    nurses found this poem.

    It urges us to remember how we stand on the shoulders of those who come before us
    & that our lives are inextricably bound, one to the other, in connectedness;
    in the unbroken lineage of common ancestral history.

    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 prompt 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 a shoe.

    Who resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
    With bathing & feeding, the long day to fill.

    Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
    Then open your eyes, 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 & mother,
    Brothers & 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 then 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 & secure a happy home.

    A man of Thirty, my young ones grow fast,
    Bound to each other with ties that will last.

    At Forty, my young sons have grown & are gone,
    But my woman is beside me to see I don't mourn.

    At Fifty, once more, Babies on my knee,
    Again, we know children, my loved one & 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 & the love that I've known.

    I'm now an Old man & nature is cruel,
    It's jest to make old-age look like a fool,

    The body it crumbles, grace & vigour depart,
    Now there’s a stone where once I had heart.

    But inside this old carcass a young man still dwells
    & now and again, my battered heart swells,

    I remember the joys, I remember the pain
    & I'm still loving living, all over again.

    I think of the years all too few, gone too fast,
    I accept the stark fact, nothing can last.

    So open your caregiver's eyes, open & see
    Not a cranky old man, look closer it’s me .
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