High Priestess


High priestess oer her victim stands

Wrapping feet and face and hands,

Gently tending to the needs

Of one whos dead, no longer breathes.


But in that frozen state of death,

The spent out shell of mortal flesh

That lived through times of stress and strife,

Can yet give forth a spark of life.


For in her heart, the priestess knows,

With time and study, knowledge grows.

And knowledge is the life and breath

She gently coaxes back from death.


She pauses oer the aged gent,

Who never knew her true intent.

Strokes the cold and hardened skin

That holds its secrets deep within.


And with the slash of scalpel blade

The skin is breached, the flesh displayed.

She looks, she sees, there is no doubt,

Shes let the secret knowledge out..


With head bent down in reverence

She tries to fathom what is meant

In all the endless litanies

Of muscles, nerves and arteries.


So it goes from day to day,

The priestess comes here not to pray.

She comes because her soul does burn,

With an eagerness to learn.


And here among the living dead

She walks about.  Her silent tread

Bespeaking feelings few have shared,

A deep respect for those who cared.


Those who cared enough to give

That in their death they might still live,

Not only in the hearts and minds

Of families they left behind,


But also in the hearts and souls

Of priestesses and priests who hold

The quest for knowledge very dear,

As any who now slumber here.


She puts away her knives and probes

Her missal and her priestly robes

The daily sacrifice is done.

But the quest to know is scarce begun.


                                                                                                                        Dennis M. DePace, PhD

                                                                                                                        MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine  Published in: Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 34(3): 471-472, 1991