The backward glance

Brian Quarantaa

a MD, MA, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine; Faculty Affiliate, Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative, Duke University Divinity School, Durham, NC, USA

We're the people who don't kill other people.
In common cause we've spread across the earth.
Our code forbids the fatal pill or needle,
We see in every life it’s source of worth.

We claim our place with ancient oath and token,
Red Cross, or staff with serpents intertwined;
Signs before which locked gates are thrown open,
If sickness unto death should lurk behind.

A peerless singer lost his precious wife
To the prick of a wicked serpent’s bite;
Determined to give all to save her life,
He journeyed to the kingdom of the Night.

Hell itself could not resist his singing,
So with him made a solemn, dreadful pact;
He might walk his bride back to the living,
If he could lead the way and not look back.

Like Orpheus we've sworn to use our art
To give to those we serve a second chance;
Like him we’ll find our life’s work fall apart
If we give Death it's longed-for backward glance.

Peer Reviewed: Submitted 13 Oct 2022, accepted 1 Nov 2022, published 20 Dec 2022

Competing Interests: None declared.

Correspondence: Dr. Brian Quaranta, Duke University, North Carolina, USA brian.quaranta@duke.edu

Cite this article as: Quaranta B. The backward glance. Christ J Glob Health. Dec 2022; 9(2):34. https://doi.org/10.15566/cjgh.v9i2.711

© Author. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly cited. To view a copy of the license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/