Friday, January 9, 2009

Unsung Heroes

Today I paid a visit to my physio. Not an unusual occurrence during the last 14 years (as every so often I do something whilst playing tennis and last year I broke my wrist, so he's still helping me with that). I found him 14 years ago with a friend's help, when I had a very bad back injury, and he quite literally gave me back my life. He made time to see me when he had a fully booked day, because he knew I was in pain and needed treatment desperately. This is something he does on a regular basis and he also generously gives up his time to treat the elderly and handicapped at home. Yet he gets scant if any appreciation from his boss. He is one of my 'unsung heroes' and this poem is for him (from 'Family and More - Enemies or Friends?').


A teddy bear of a man
with face soft and round,
healing hands flowing up and down the spine,
the experienced touch quickly revealing
muscular spasms, stiffened joints
and bones displaced.
The situation serious,
that he knows,
but quietly confident is he
that all will be right,
so a positive picture he paints
to the patient in distress and pain,
inspiring hope and belief
that painless walking
will indeed be possible again.

The day’s fully booked,
yet always ready to give up time
to squeeze in patients here and there,
for his gentle, feeling heart
can never bear the sight of
a soul pained and distressed.
If he can lighten the load
and free the spirit,
then his conscience he’s followed,
his calling’s been done,
and he can sleep easy
when the time comes to rest.

A job it is not
for this human healer,
but a vocation potent and strong;
the call he must heed
and that he does,
working long hours
for people in need,
a life given willingly to serve others
and to help at all costs,
that’s what he truly believes.
Patients from far and near
come to reap the remedies
from his curative hands,
for physios like him
certainly don’t grow on trees,
and distance is no object
when all else has been tried.
Anything, anything, anything
can be endured
for this healer unique!

A faith resolute and deep
and humor rich and warm
giving him strength for the never-ending days,
passionately exploring
the hidden depths of biblical truths
and scientific explanations
of human evolution and creation,
leading to discussions that stimulate
about God and science,
the universe and infinity;
a desire to self-educate
in matters of religion and profession
impressing so powerfully,
like the memory
detailed and extraordinary.

Exploited by his boss,
yet never complaining
or speaking harsh words,
he diligently toils
whilst others reap the spoils
of his long hours of work,
but then disaster!
Blood spouting from
a burst, overlarge vein,
a defect since birth,
one operation, then another,
situation critical,
life hanging by a thread,
but he survives,
months of convalescence required,
cards from well-wishers
received by the hundred,
tokens of respect and affection,
his legacy of years of caring.
The return to work is slow,
for now he knows
his body just cannot be abused,
hours must be cut
to ensure sufficient rest
so it doesn’t blow another fuse.

One day of healing after another,
his life,
and private treatment accessible to all,
his hope for the future.
Were grateful thanks a currency for bank accounts,
then this vision would most definitely be
a reality vibrant and true
and no more than the reward
this selfless healer
and man of benevolence is due.
If we all gave of ourselves
as this man does,
imagine the world we would create!
Each of us treating strangers
as our other half,
where nothing was too much
for the well-being of another
and selfishness was forgotten,
a thing of the past.
If we followed this man’s lead,
we would gradually overcome
all obstacles that impede,
for this imagined world is the goal
we secretly long for with all our hearts.
“Then let’s start on the path,” comes the shout,
“that will make it concrete, substantial and real!”

Copyright © 2008 Helena Harper
(From 'Family and More - Enemies or Friends?')


  1. Hi. Thanks for leaving such a beautiful poem on my blog. Can I publish it as a post on my blog? Credit will be to you. Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much, Aza, for your comment. Of course you can publish it as a post on your blog, if you wish! I'm so pleased you liked it.