Bernadette McComish

This poem is in the voice of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War (1854-1856). Throughout her life there is no evidence of a long-term romantic relationship.

4 September 1855

He survived for weeks
on champagne wine alone,
I’ve never seen
such another case.

He forgot balance
with one leg,
traded his rations
for brandy.

His bedsores worsened
and he said he missed
silk, we had only
linen in hospital life.

I prayed he would
find a road to his maxim—
let the wind
blow over him.

No soul could take
charge of my poor corrupted
merchant sailor, soldier,
amputee and watchmaker.

While I was ill
another nurse found his fever
had returned, she asked

Where shall you go to
when you die?
and he replied,
To Miss Nightingale’s.

Although now I am
a captive in my own bed
I am thankful the mercy of God has been shown him.