Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Miss Lillian Sees Leprosy For The First Time

I love this poem.

When I nursed in a clinic
near Bombay,
a small girl, shielding
all her leprous sores,
crept inside the door.
I moved away,
But then the doctor called,
“You take this case!”
First I found a mask,
and put it on,
quickly gave the child
a shot and then, not well,
and scrubbed my entire body red and raw.

I faced her treatment every week with dread and loathing
—of the chore, not the child.
As time passed, I was less afraid and managed not to
turn my face away.
Her spirit bloomed as sores began to fade.
She’d raise her anxious
searching eyes to mine
to show she trusted me.
We’d smile and say
a few Marathi words,
and then reach and
hold each other’s hands.
And then love grew between
us, so that, later
when I kissed her lips
I didn’t feel unclean.

Jimmy Carter

President Carter’s mother, Lillian, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1967-1969. Copied from Peace Corps The Great Adventure, Washington, D.C., 5.


khairyn said...

woah, nice poem.

ignorance is our worst enemy. heh ada kena mengena ke?

nyway, have a nice time makan tomyam kat bangkok hahahaha

elisataufik said...


ilovebudu said...

aku memang suka clown segalanya...terima kasih ....

Anonymous said...

salam drbubbles, saya minat nak sumbang used books utk projek2 library tuan. how to contact u? pian.