High priestess o’er her victim stands
Wrapping feet and face and hands,
Gently tending to the needs
Of one who’s 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 o’er 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,
She’s 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