Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 6,546 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Journey Of The Oncologists - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

'A sore prospect we had of it,
The worst diagnosis possible
For a journey, and such a journey:
Into the patient’s interior,
The very heart of cancer.

And the woman terrified, the screens
As black as death
Where she lay stretched out, anaesthetised
On the cold table.

The operation long and lonely
Bringing us bloodshot eyes,
Dark stubble, bloodied gloves
And the life-line guttering, the
Lack of time and resources,
And the cancer malignant
The progress decidedly bad.

A hard time we had of it.
Working at night,
With the song of Asclepius singing in our ears,
Saying all life is sacred.

Then at dawn we came out to a
Blear-eyed morning,
Smelling of antiseptic

And the old white horse of pestilence
Galloped away from the ward
The outcome (you may say)
Was satisfactory.
We have made an Amazon
Out of a suckling mother
We must go again and again on this same journey
Into a patient’s interior
Into the very heart and hub of cancer.’

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 8, 2010

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