In Honor of Florence Nightingale

January 19, 2010
“I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale
“I stand at the altar of the murdered men, and, while I live, I fight their cause.” – Florence Nightingale
The Lamp
Deep down within me
I knew I had a certain diversity
I did not want to be normal
At the age of seventeen, to me, God would call
I had a passion for healing
Though to my family the thought remained unappealing
It was Victorian England
I must have been mad to think that I could change that which tradition would command
Though now I must confess
I believe t’was this madness
Which permitted the inner harvest of my valor
This in turn impelled upon my interest to explore
The appalling and horrendous conditions of that which society called
A Hospital…
The only people who truly changed the world did it by their own example
They did not, and neither did I, do it for the extol
But for the betterment of humanity
And someday, in turn, the rest of society
On July 23, 1853 I was declared superintendent at a near hospital
But only for a year, that was all
In 1854 I, with forty other women, went to nurse the casualties of war in Scutari
Located in Turkey
The Officer’s prejudice against women nursing in the army
Caused each of us to question are coming
Each night we could hear the soldiers crying out for us
Though with the threat of being dismissed we try not to fuss
Between the rats, lice, mold, sewage and contaminated water
Can you truly blame us if we momentarily wished to defer
There were so many casualties they could do nothing but ask for our assistance
We did all we could, the best we could, for this may be are only chance
With a successful outcome we are now permitted to nurse
Rather than rolling-up bandages which would have never been reversed
All of England tried to put a face to the famed name Nightingale
Despite my many triumphs I still had enemy’s who condemned my avail
I left for Russia with the twelve nurses I had left
Slightly regretting the choices I have made and this feeling of bereft
I fell victim to fever, depression and stress
It was all catching up with me, bedridden with total distress
I was deemed General Superintendent of Nursing of all Military Hospitals of the Army
Honored with a custom made broach given to me by the Queen
All throughout my life I imagined that there was a light-
Which by my passions did ignite-
That was meant to be my focus
Through this never ending game of chess
A part of me the world would never see
A part of a dream lost and clever mystery
I carried this light, this flame, with me everywhere
Comforting the wounded, whispering a prayer
The men sat with many emotions as I walked through the camp
Little did they know that there was more than light within the lamp…
“There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain.” – Florence Nightingale
“I am afraid of what’s ahead, but this is what I was meant to do.” – Florence Nightingale – from film Florence Nightingale

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