Windsor’s Poet Laureate Emeritus felt he needed to do something to champion healthcare workers as they work on ‘harm’s edge’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, so he sat down one day and wrote them a poem of thanks.
Based on his own experience when he was in the hospital in December 2019-January 2020 with acute kidney failure, Marty Gervais remembers waking up in the middle of the night in the hospital and being cared for by nurse - and this was prior to COVID.
“I had a keyhole of what life is like on a ward,” he says.
Gervais lives close to the Met Campus and sees hospital workers park their vehicles outside his home every day and he wonders, ‘How they do it?’
“They are the ones we need to carry on through this terrible time,” he adds. “They are straddling two dimensions right now. They are straddling the dimension of home life and children who can’t go to school right now and need their help and attention, spouses, friends, or elderly parents and on the other hand, they are in this chaotic terrible mess that we are in.”
Referring to frontline workers as ‘guardian angels’, Gervais hopes staff are comforted by the poem titled:
The Healthcare Worker in COVID
They are not bulletproof when they step into the room, when they move into a stranger’s world, and hear the staggered breathing, frantic eyes searching - they are a passing shadow for the sick who struggle for relief, a moment of calm of peace, anything to shift this day into needed sleep, into somewhere safe
They are the guardian angels who move silently day and night, a voice of calm of peace, and know they haunt the very edge of harm’s way, masked and gowned like moon walkers, yet they are fearless in pursuit, slipping into the dim light of a hospital room and it’s their shadow that floats in the feverish moment — yet it’s their voice and their arms that embrace the ill and collapsed and all the neighbourhoods we know and remember
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