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Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

Pemmaraju, Naveen MD

doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000428326.79737.8c
Naveen Pemmaraju, MD

Naveen Pemmaraju, MD

Submissions are welcome from oncologists, oncology nurses, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to:, and include affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.

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The Quiet Guardians

Solemn is the night

Where blood has been spilled

In the streets of paralysis

Not in the midst of War

But Battle of a different Ilk

The silent fires

Never-ending, senseless crime

Relentless non-front-page-heroics

Quiet CPR compressions

While the rest of us sleep in our homes

Tucked away from the mayhem of the streets

The first responders' task

Is seldom the work of glory

And yet their yeomen's' work

Is what keeps our families safe at night

When a first responder dies

It is his or her family that now suffers

And the many hitherto unknown victims

They would have saved from harms grasp

I weep for the 3-year-old son who, waiting to be read to at night finds out

His brave father

Who was killed in yesterday's fire

I weep for the 10-year-old daughter

Who will never again go to the movies with her police officer mother killed in the line of duty

I weep for the paramedic's son who will never again play chase around the house with his father

I weep for the steadfast spouses of all first responders quietly wondering if their mate is going to come home tonight

The calling and the sacrifice

The acts of selfless giving

To all the paramedics and firefighters and police officers and other first responders who keep our families protected

We all owe you and your families buckets full of our heartfelt love and thanks for all you do.

Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

NAVEEN PEMMARAJU, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Leukemia at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Inspired by a recent, moving newspaper clipping I saw of a first responder who died here in town, I dedicate this poem to all of the first responders who keep us safe at night, as well as to their loving families,” he said.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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