There May Be No Answer

Farm dog

For you will be invincible
          and vulnerable in the same breath
          which is the breath of your patients
For their breath is our breathing and our reason
For the patient will know the answer
          and you will ask him
          ask her
For the family may know the answer
For there may be no answer
-John Stone, “Gaudeamus Igitur: A Valediction”

 
I first learned to interact with poetry as a college freshman. Because I tested out of calculus, I was automatically signed up for a literature class focusing on medicine. I have always loved to read, but I was terrified of a 300-level English class. I had absolutely no useful academic background in the subject, but I did my best to keep calm. The course, along with subsequent courses in the medical humanities, turned out to be one of the highlights of my undergraduate career. With the help of engaging content and a dedicated professor, I learned to read, write and think. Most importantly, I learned that the act of seeking understanding is as important as acquiring definitive knowledge. Read more

No Fire Can Warm Me

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?”
-Emily Dickinson

In honor of National Poetry Month, I plan to devote some of my April posts to the wonderful world of poetry. Read more

I Think I’m Home

Chalk cliffs at Beachy Head
Chalk cliffs at Beachy Head

The landscape of the South Downs at Beachy Head in East Sussex is one of the most visually striking scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Lush, rolling, green hills set against stark, cream chalk cliffs create an otherworldly effect. When I visited the area, cloud-filtered winter light gave everything a hazy, yellowish-gray tinge. A strong wind blew salty mist in from the sea during the entirety of my three day stay. Contrasting elements of harsh and soft had all of my senses working overtime. Read more