Quiet Flows my Blood Tonight

Quiet flows my blood tonight
Discreetly coursing through my veins;
Beneath my chest there’s a quiet beat
Almost silent, rhythmic, steady, discrete.
It gently reminds that my heart sustains
My life. Thank God I’m alive, all right.

In rivers of red it flows,
An aortic pulse of capillaries, arteries
With platelets, cells of red and white,
Medical names such as lymphocyte
And other strange words from surgeries
That collectively the gift of life bestow.

There was a time, not long ago,
When my blood was mine, not another’s,
But a donor’s gift gave me my life
As I succumbed to surgeon’s knife –
For cancerous tissue they had discovered
And lengthy surgery I did undergo.

Time runs anew from that fateful day
When medics saved me from the grave.
I thank them all in the NHS
Although I do now readily confess
I really doubted that they could save
A body wracked with such decay.

But that was then, and now is now
Time started again from the year A.D. –
What I call Anno Diagnostico –
And that was ten years ago,
A decade in which I’ve been free
To live my life by this sacred vow:

‘Dwell on the good, not on the bad,
Give thanks for all life’s precious gifts
And do good turns to all you meet;
Aspire to live a life complete,
To know that inner peace consists
Of cheering those who would be sad’

That has been my guiding light
In these precious borrowed years,
But throughout the extra time since then
I whisper to that donor, again,
And to the medics with their wondrous cures:
‘Thank you for another day of life’s delight’
As quiet flows my blood tonight.