YOU WERE THERE
CARMEN TAFOLLA SAN ANTONIO POET LAUREATE
Deep in the heart of the city’s downtown Deep in the passion of caring Deep in commitment to healing for all Lifting the injured and dying Wrapped in a vow to serve infant and elder, to bridge races and cultures and tongues, one small building began on its mission to care for whoever would come. And when they came as the wounded of war or as refugees fleeing revolution as victims of poverty or the fevered of a plague, you opened your doors, and found them a bed. When their home’s cardboard walls leaked in icy drafts When the midnight cough bled from pecan dust TB When the babies were crying of hunger and terror as influenza’s pale fever burned on Mamá’s head your soul of a healer went forth without pause Your compassion lent hope and strength. When there was nowhere to go and no one to care, You were there. You were there. You were there. Old “Robert B. Green,” New “University Health,” The clinics and mobile units The staff and admin leave a smile in the air Past and present drink in the same purpose. A century of nurses hold this patient’s hand A century of doctors consult Each person’s effort weaves into this tale Each life, sending energy still. El corazón del pueblo is a delicate thing swiftly poisoned by apathy or cold But our pueblo’s heart, pumping bare on your palm, beating strong, singing joy, singing life, is grateful to you, who always were there when the pain was extreme, and the heart in despair when the child couldn’t walk, and the wallets were thin when the illness hit hard … You were there. This legacy strong, these goals held in trust This spirit that’s still here now are all part of you, you who work and who serve with no one turned away and no one left out En el corazón del pueblo, the heart of our town, You are there. You are there. You are there.