When the World Passes By


Crossing the Street in Hong Kong, 2009

When the world passes by,
it doesn’t seem to care.
It  revolves, without pause,
not a glimpse, not a stare.

I walk forward while
they all whizz by
a blurring sea of faces
none I recognize

in bright jerseys and caps
so eager,  so merry,
how could they possibly know
all the burdens I carry?

‘Cause just an hour ago
before I boarded that train
I was there beside my patients
as they yelped in pain.

I saw the furrow in her brow
I heard the worry in his voice
I felt the warmth in her fever;
the despair when there is no choice.

Can one know his depths of sorrow
how one wound crippled his life
disabling him completely
bringing him such strife?

Or a young mother’s grief from
her child’s fatal diagnosis,
enduring months of chemo
and left with a poor prognosis?

The warm, familiar greetings
and hugs of patients once near
but then a long absence…
why did they disappear?

They cannot afford the copay
maybe money is tight
or they don’t have a place to live
will everything be alright…

The crowds move on
perhaps they do care
but how would they know
if I never begin to share?


5 thoughts on “When the World Passes By

  1. What a burden you carry on your shoulders each day. I imagine that not every nurse that crosses a patient’s path reacts to their suffering in the way you do. I think your patients are lucky to have you.

    • indeed.. being a nurse is not easy work; it requires a great amount of empathy and being able to identify and transfer some of their burdens upon myself, in order for me to connect and understand their situation.

      thanks so much… although i don’t the patients are lucky, because i am the one who feels honored to serve and care for them. =)

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