How can you analyze the poem "To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair" by Finuala Dowling?

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The poem in question is written by Finuala Dowling, a South African poet. Let's take a look at it.

From the beginning, we see that this poem describes a dichotomy of opposites; throughout the poem, the suffering endured by an infant who has been raped is juxtaposed against statements about...

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The poem in question is written by Finuala Dowling, a South African poet. Let's take a look at it.

From the beginning, we see that this poem describes a dichotomy of opposites; throughout the poem, the suffering endured by an infant who has been raped is juxtaposed against statements about the normal lives of other infants and children. As the doctor tends to the pitiful specimen before her, someone, somewhere, has left the light on for a 'nervous little sleeper.' Yet 'faraway, a Karoo shepherd crooned a ramkietjie lullaby in the veld.' The veld in South Africa is equivalent to the pampas in South America: both are fertile, low-level plains, often covered in grass. The Karoo in South Africa is a wide expanse of land which includes impressive mountain ranges and national parks. Life continues on the plains of South Africa despite the results of horrific brutality that the doctor encounters in the hospital. Normalcy is juxtaposed against aberration.

As the poem continues, the doctor works to staunch the flow of blood from the suffering infant and to administer an infant-sized dose of opiates or painkillers. While she concentrates on her grim task, a young 'night walker' somewhere else is comforted when he/she is able to bask in 'mother-warmed sheets,' secure in the knowledge that all is well. Yet in another venue, there are 'luxuriant dark nipples/for fist clenching babes.' Dowling juxtaposes scenes of normalcy with the horrific imagery of an infant fighting for her life after a brutal rape. Bolded words below are mine:

when you called for more blood (the baby has lost much blood)
a bleary-eyed uncle got up to make a feed ( somewhere else, an uncle has woken up to feed his baby niece or nephew)
and while you stitched (the implication is that the doctor is stitching up torn skin sustained from the rape).
there was another chapter of a favorite story ( in another venue, one more story is read to a child from his/her favorite book)
and while you cleaned (the doctor cleans up after surgery)
a grandpa’s thin legs walked up and down for a colicky crier (elsewhere, a grandfather tries to calm a colicky baby)
and when finally you stood exhausted at the end of her cot
and asked, “Where is God?”,
a father sat watch (this father sits watch over an infant. By all indications everything seems normal; the father's watchfulness over his infant is not the sort of anguished laboring the doctor displays over the brutalized infant).

The last few lines are indicative of the grateful trust we place in doctors who can and will labor to do what many of us cannot: to save a life in the most desperate of circumstances. The poet maintains that we are all thankful that we can sleep well, trusting that such doctors exist.

And for the rest of us, we all slept in trust
that you would do what you did,
that you could do what you did.
We slept in trust that you lived.

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