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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Enfermeira Aura

Here is another of your poems Sally. When you first got cancer most people from Portugal, even (especially?) those who knew you well, were surprised that you didn't want to go back to your "terra". It was difficult for people to understand that your terra was the one you had created around you - a small space in Torre, near Tomar, Portugal.

One of the most beautiful things you inspired and challenged and brought out was the care and love of people in the village (Torre) that you had made your home. Every day people from the village, those with little or nothing, arrived with eggs, milk, bread and cakes to help your family survive. And with each basket of food, every person in the village had a story of suffering to share. And you listened carefully - to every one of their stories.

So rarely did you expose your own vulnerability - and when you did it was only to the doctors and nurses of Coimbra Hospital. It's a strange thing - how important the doctors and nurses were at making you feel at so safe and so cared about - and so at home.

Enfermeira Aura

In-firm-ayra Ow-ra
(Nurse Aura)

In a world of Marias and Fernandas
Her name already signals her difference

Quick and slight
With a quiet smile
Warming kind eyes

The first here to tell me
That it was all right
To cry

Perched on my bed,
Softly sharing
my pain and fear
Letting me glimpse
A life full of sacrifice
To giving

Caring for her sister
With cancer
Yet unfailingly
bringing her smile to work

Enfermeira Aura
An unsung celebration
Of the best of humanity

Sally Mavor
22nd January 2001
Coimbra Hosipital


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this powerful poem, which I had never seen) by Sally. It occurs to em it might be an idea to submit it to the TLS and LRB as they both have regular poetry slots.
Bill Williams

4/05/2005 01:25:00 PM  

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