“A Poem For a Registered Nurse” by John O’Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us
A Poem Celebrating the Character and Strength of Registered Nurses: Kindness, Love, and Rendering Care
Your mind knows the world of illness,
The fright that invades a person
Arriving in out of the world,
Distraught and grieved by illness.
How it can strip a life of its joy,
Dim the light if the heart
Put shock in the eyes.
You see worlds breaking
At the onset of illness:
Families at bedsides distraught
That their mother’s name has come up
In the secret lottery of misfortune
That had always chosen someone else.
You watch their helpless love
That would exchange places with her.
The veil of skin opened,
The search through the body’s night
To remove tissue, war-torn with cancer.
Young lives that should be out in the sun
Enjoying life with wild hearts,
Come in here lamed by accident
And the lucky ones who leave,
Already old and in captive posture.
The elderly who should be prepared,
But are frightened and unsure.
You understand no one
Can learn beforehand
An elegant or easy way to die.
In this fragile frontier place, your kindness
Becomes a light that consoles the brokenhearted,
Awakens within desperate storms
That oasis of serenity that calls
The spirit to rise from beneath the weight of pain,
To create a new space in the person’s mind
Where they gain distance from their suffering
And begin to see the invitation
To integrate and transform it.
May you embrace the beauty in what you do
And how you stand like a secret angel
Between the bleak despair of illness
And the unquenchable light of spirit
That can turn the darkest destiny towards dawn.
May you never doubt the gifts you bring;
Rather, learn from these frontiers
Wisdom for your own heart.
May you come to inherit
The blessings of your kindness
And never be without care and love
When winter enters your own life.
Phyllis Can Be Reached: