Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest Blog: Cure

Veneta Masson is a registered nurse and poet living in Washington, DC. She has written three books of essays and poems, drawing on her experiences over twenty years as a family nurse practitioner and director of an inner-city clinic. Information about her poetry collection Clinician's Guide to the Soul is available at The following poem from that collection was originally published online in Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine.



In Latin it means care,
conjures priests and temples
the laying on of hands
sacred pilgrimage
the sickbed
invalid and
solemn attendants.

How far we have come.
Today's English
has neatly expunged
those purely human elements.
Cure is impersonal, consequential
unequivocal, sometimes violent -
the annihilation
of the thing that ails.

This nurse
approaching the patient
has discarded temple garb
for practical scrubs.
His gloved hands
unsheathe the magic bullet,
shoot it through the central line
where it locks onto the target cells.

For the not-yet-cured,
there is still sacred pilgrimage -
that dogged slog
to the high tech shrine,
the health food store,
the finish line of the annual race
where, etched on each undaunted face,
is a gritty tale of survival.

- Veneta Masson