top of page

The Lady with the Lamp

Updated: May 30

by Erin R., Brilliant Contributor, The Brilliant Foundation

In this series, we look towards the young – teenagers who have written a narrative poem of an individual from herstory (history). From our youngest contributor, Erin, 13 years of age has chosen Florence Nightingale as her inspiration.

Florence Nightingale is remembered as the lamp-carrying nurse who, during the Crimean War, would check on each soldier during the night. After the war, she spent the rest of her life writing about how to improve patient care and used infographics to get her point across.

Here I am

Watching, waiting, listening

Feeling sorrow for the fallen men in battle

Whispering their last words


Smelling rotting bodies seized the air

A shriek of pain, then silence

Distraught nurses hurrying around the ward

Muttering silently

Florence Nightingale at the Barrack Hospital in Scutari (Üsküdar), writing letters for wounded soldiers of the Crimean War, 1855.

Another soldier gone

Slaughtered like livestock

Killed for no purpose

Died for nothing


Watching men sacrificing themselves for their country

Knowing in the end they are pawns in one big game

Countless lives are squandered

Lost for greed, spoils and victory


I am only a young Lady, what can I do?

Facing these once magnificent bodies

Writhing in agony, butchered and torn

Lifeless in this Hell, clinging on to Hope


Money, wealth, jewels

Social expectations I cannot meet

Serving my family for the wrong purpose

Treating me like a doll


My Mother, hailed from a family of merchants

My Father, a wealthy landowner inherited two estates

Both hungry for money and worldly possessions

A masquerade of privilege


Considered beautiful with my delicate features

Fair skinned with piercing blue eyes framed by my thin eyebrows

Dark long auburn hair with a reddish tint

Made me perfect to expand our family riches


Raised in classical education

To become the Lady my parents shaped me to be

Resisting, rebelling within

This life  is not for me


I am 16 years old

Ministering to the ill and poor  

Knowing that helping is my divine purpose

Knowing that I am a nurse,  not an instrument of my parents

My parents forbid my desires, they casted away my dreams

For a woman in the Victorian Era with status

I am not allowed to have an occupation

Destined to be betrothed to another


A year past, I was surprised with a burden

Richard Monckton Milnes proposed

I turned him down

I am too young, I have my own dreams to pursue


Despite my parents’ mandate, I left

A calling from God came soon after

Telling me to serve my people, heeding my voice

I become His servant

Florence Nightingale in Scutari Hospital Istanbul, Turkey. | Nightingale became famous after she and a small team of nurses traveled to modern-day Istanbul to treat British soldiers wounded in the Crimean War, in which British, French and Ottoman forces fought the Russian Empire. Image Credit: Reuters

I am standing here aghast, quivering and trembling

Seeing red - blood, sweat and tears

Smelling the stench of rotting flesh

Feeling unimagined horror, Life turned upside down

My aching heart breaks, I can bear no more

Seeing souls drift away, I cry in silence


While I carry my lamp in my hand, I’m like a firefly dancing in the night

Bringing solace to the injured soldiers, applying ointment to their lesions

Florence! They cry my name, men brought to their knees

I am here, quiet by their side with my Light

Working gently to tend their wounds,

Gazing into their flickering eyes tenderly


Years pass on, yet these senseless battles continue

Accustomed to the broken spirits

In Faith, I care

Praying to Heaven

That they become Angels


My life’s work is done, 90 years on Earth

Fulfilling God’s calling and His crusade

Walking towards His Light,

I return to Him

Resting with my army of soldiers in Paradise.



copyright@The Brilliant Foundation


This is an image of Florence Nightingale in 1870

Florence Nightingale (born May 12, 1820, Florence [Italy]—died August 13, 1910, London, England) was a British nurse, statistician, and social reformer who was the foundational philosopher of modern nursing.

Nightingale was put in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War. She spent many hours in the wards, and her night rounds giving personal care to the wounded established her image as the “Lady with the Lamp.”

Her efforts to formalize nursing education led her to establish the first scientifically based nursing school—the Nightingale School of Nursing, at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London (opened 1860).

She also was instrumental in setting up training for midwives and nurses in workhouse infirmaries. She was the first woman awarded the Order of Merit (1907). International Nurses Day, observed annually on May 12, commemorates her birth and celebrates the important role of nurses in health care.

International Nurses' Day (IND) is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.

93 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page