Poetry in Medicine

Two of our favorites from among this year’s 38 entries in the medical center’s annual poetry contest:


I’m exhausted
From trying
To arrange the elements
That form my life
As if I could
Control a storm.
Come quickly
Wind and rain and darkness,
Relieve me of this illusion.

nurse, division of gastroenterology and hepatology



I feel
Your pulsating limbs,
Heavy bones
Wheeling you in
From Heaven to Earth.

I hold
Mothers pushing and sweating.
Grandpas weakened and shedding
One final breath
Of peaceful rebirth.

Sleepy Child Illustration

I sense
Lovers torn apart,
Gripping my long metal arms.
Implanted youthful hearts
Kindled by soft blanket’s charm.

I witness
Your clinging ephemeral stay
On my flat matted angular frame,
Cushioning you under the knife
While precision dictates your dear life.

I know
Your patience, your aching cold chills.
My round edges are burnt yet stand still
Rushing from white sterile endless halls
To anxious, fearful emergency calls.

I am
Pushed forth ahead,
Not dragged astray.
Clenched for hope,
Over-hearing all who pray.

research assistant,
Center for Tuberculosis Research


This year’s contest winners:

“Late winter ’94” by Kimberly Allard,
social work clinician, Packard Children’s Hospital

“Abandoned airbase, Rhode Island 1975” by Michael Galko, PhD,
Beckman fellow in biochemistry

“Green” by Christine Hendricks,
administrative assistant, Stanford Hospital cath-angio laboratory

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