A few poems from my writings
Sweet as Nuts
I began by aligning their bowed bones, learned
the trick from the ER nurse, who lacked the license
but who took license anyway, there being no
other mentor. A vain and sloppy art it was: their
pliant ulnas lined up straight whatever I did. So
I learned another skill: cartooning stiffening casts,
my clumsy craft surmounting puckers and whimpers.
Later we’d play, as I chased them over and under
cribs for h-and-p’s: outrageously fit-to-bust, go-for-broke,
sweet-as-nuts playful they were. So where do they go to,
these young ones? And where do grown-ups come from?
Flowers and Soldiers
An ill-timed final frost felled my March azalea regiments;
a happening no more rational than the child’s death.
Last night they’d paraded, stems erect, my guard of rose and crimson,
shedding their wind-jarred petal-deck to mark my frontier posts.
Like this chosen child they’d shimmered shortly in an early sun.
Now my nursery box brims with their brave residue.
Their soldier paint has run to rust in the crevices of cedar chip,
they who left without notice, unwilling that age should wrinkle them.
Read more in “Quick: A Pediatrician’s Illustrated Poetry” available on Amazon.com
Quick: A Pediatrician’s Illustrated Poetry by John Graham-Pole.
Through poetry both poignant and light, somber and uplifting, university pediatrician and oncologist John Graham-Pole has captured the spirit of children in sickness and in health. A clinician, teacher, researcher and writer for over 30 years, the author has opened a window on the subjective world of health care. There is immediacy and joy, humility and intimacy in this depiction of a doctor’s life working, and playing, with children, coupled with memories and reflections on his own childhood and youth. Of the inexplicable nature of illness and suffering, the author says in his foreword: “Of some mysteries only poems can make meaning. Poems turn denial and withdrawal into compassion-feeling with. They turn fear into mercy-thank you-their guiding hand carries us over a bridge of communication and celebration; their timeless rhythm balances the polarities and synergies of our lives.” The poems are beautifully illustrated by fellow physician David Crown, who is the President of the International Mezzotint Society, and whose artwork is exhibited in galleries worldwide.
Attending: A Poetry Anthology
A selection of poems drawn from my work as a children’s cancer doctor, and collected in my anthology, “Attending” <READ MORE Poetry >