Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Hoverer - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

...then something snapped inside my head,
of all the lights the green ones went.
And dimly flick'ring orange glow
with hesitation, drifted in
and brought its warmth.
Yet also shivers of proverbial primal fear.
Then the Big Red appeared, at last,
so angry, arrogant, its presence
announced new rules to supersede
all current thoughts and vital functions.

It was CODE BLUE, and in the bustle
a sense of humour, though ill-spawned,
committed tiny sins of comfort
and silent laughter, out of season.
Like white coat puppets, being chased
by sordid devils, now competing.
Whose soul could be the urgent target?
Had all their dignity now taken leave?
The label could be clearly read
from vantage points assigned to me.
It said DE-FIB, was German made,
what lies were they referring to?
It must be Dad, I now surmised,
a re-run of his pleasant death,
a closer look though brought surprise:
Good Grief, it wasn't Dad, but me!

'Me' almost fell down from the ceiling,
what in the name of God was wrong?
A sudden ZAP released blue smoke
from hairless chest into my eyes.
And now they nodded, happy grins
showed on their green-masked, hidden faces.
And, silently, as if in prayer,
stood still to watch the wavy lines.

There was a pause, when to my left
a tunnel had appeared, so dark,
pitch blackness reaching, ever closer
until it swallowed me with care.
It was not me but my surroundings,
which travelled, brought its end of time,
a single lantern of great brightness
laid balmy angel dew on me.
And now, a voice, a baritone at last,
which had no face and eerie origins,
it spoke the fewest words for this occasion.
Apparent verdicts had been overturned.
Was I not wondering, outside my shell?
It mattered little, once rejected, twice denied.

A giant hand of fate, invisible and firm, had interlaced
its chubby ladyfingers in a twisted grasp,
oblivious to the desperate Cheyne-Stokes breaths.
And new decrees were issued, spitting me right back.
The greenish clowns below had ended their discussion,
laid open was the cavity, split sternum.
The man in charge, ill-fitting motorcycle goggles,
remarked on the exotic nature of his task,
that never would they dare to get invasive,
cut into life that had just signalled its own death,
but choice was missing, without scalpels, (and in spades) ,
and they conducted a most lively conversation.

When sudden silence prompted me to strain my eyes.
They had arrived at the aortic valve, so shredded,
and time was sizzling now as bits of seconds counted.
Yes the EF, so I remembered very clearly,
it was the fraction of ejection that my heart,
as trusted pump was in the business to provide.
It had collapsed to a percentage under twenty.
So all the villages and also all the cities,
spread through my system, and dependent on supply,
with names like Liver, Lungs, Twokidneys and St. Spleen,
had been demanding, later crying out in pain.
Entire worlds within myself so near extinction,
and all this caused by just one faulty little valve.

Assistant One had just arrived and quickly scrubbed,
I watched him don his rubber gloves, in bad procedure,
he wasn't clean enough to carry my new life
and so I shouted at him but he only laughed.
The Master Surgeon had made comment on a noise,
which had been caused and was the reason for much grinning,
was it a signal of opinion from my sigmoid?
'I'ts what I think of bloody valves that will not last',
so said the holder of the shiny Secar Blade,
and then he placed and stitched, a race against the ticker.

And, from the rubbish hamper in the farthest corner,
I saw the devil peeking out at the proceedings.
And he was sweating under mountains of discarded,
of bloody, soaked and soiled green rags with my own blood,
which he was tasting now while hanging on the frame.
But he looked beaten to the eyes of this observer.
'Ready to close? ', this happy question rose to me,
I nodded YES and down below was no objection,
as I had counted and kept track of all the metal,
and sponges, spreader, and two nurses count again,
so is the rule and now the mood is layers lighter,
Assistant II was stitching shut the outer skin.
It made him happy to be able to take part
and close a living one, it beats the fear of death.

And when the jokes began the gloves were truly off.
As is the custom, all now shook the surgeon's hand.
So I went down to join the crowd to shake with vigour
both of his hands, endowed with such dexterity.
And it was pleasant, an important need was met,
we took our time and bathed our hearts in gratitude.
I have a feeling though, perhaps a fragile hunch,
that he had really not been there with me at all.


Comments about The Hoverer by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (3/1/2005 6:39:00 AM)

    Been there? Rich I wasn't the one hovering if that's what you thought.
    H
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/1/2005 6:07:00 AM)

    Interesting perspective from one who's been there. I enjoyed reading it.
    I aleays enjoy the poems that lend us a little perspective into your profession.
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/28/2005 11:08:00 PM)

    Excellent little story poem, brought me right through. (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/28/2005 10:45:00 PM)

    Herbert when i read the title i thought, hello he, s gone up in a helicopter
    dont worry if ever i want to find out about something medical i'll
    just grab some of your poems on medical things, and get the information from there
    on the serious side i enjoyed this poem, it was long but you kept my interest
    i will add this poem to my favourites

    Warm regards allan
    (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 4 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: happy, green, death, fear, angel, laughter, grief, fate, silence, nature, rose, red, pain, dark, city, remember, running



Poem Submitted: Monday, February 28, 2005



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]