You’ve come along way baby
Perhaps you’ll go further, maybe
It’s taken us a lifetime to get here
But Please! Listen to me my dear
Don’t forget where you’ve come from
Remember, your darling sweet mum
The advice she always gave you
How she told you what to do
When things go wrong
In your heart there’s still that song
Keep on keeping on
And you’ll never be alone
There is an answer when you pray
The work of emotion
Henrietta stared through the train window,
For the first time, heading toward a new life.
Biopsy results; cervical cancer.
And it was malignant.
Henrietta didn’t tell anyone,
And no one asked.
Simply went on with her day.
No sense upsetting anyone,
Over something she could deal with herself.
She climbed from the Buick,
Outside Hopkins again.
“Ain’t nothin serious wrong,”
“Doctor’s gonna fix me right up.”
There is an answer for when you pray
For each and everyday. (Senior culler residents)
–Found poem by Ally Kane, excerpted from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, pp. 26, & 31 and HPU LifeLines Poetry Workshop participants from Senior Culler Center, High Point, NC, March 28, 2014.
Saturday afternoon at 5:30,
I dreaded the ringing of my phone,
Instead of forgetting you’d try to remember.
What did I know about the pain in my stomach?
My pain was fear.
On the bed is a young patient.
The same old cancer,
Jumping in playful.
They were one big happy family,
Should we fear change?
Instead of being with him in my helplessness,
We waited with bated breath.
The young doctor says,
I tried and failed.
I couldn’t fail to notice,
He was as guilty as anyone had imagined
At six-thirty in the morning
Of July the first
I was swallowed by the House of God
I will remember there is an art to medicine
If it is given me
To save a life
It may be within my power
To take a life
This awesome responsibility
Must be faced with great humbleness
And awareness of my own frailty
I must not play God
I do not treat
A sick human being
You want to see bodies
Go see bodies
I’ve seen enough bodies
Especially bodies of GOMERS
To last me the rest of my life
–Jennie Bunce, A Doctor’s Journey, a found poem with excerpts from The House of God by Samuel Shem and The Hippocratic Oath Modern Version
I’ve been thinking:
What do the living do?
So I ask those who are far more experienced than I.
They tell me, Saturday afternoon at 5:30,
The bells begin to ring.
Calling to the people,
To praise the Lord.
Those afternoon bells lift their hearts with joy.
I thought it again, and again later,
What do the living do?
So I asked about friendships.
They calmly explain with wisdom in their voice,
A true friend’s trust is long lasting like God’s eternal love.
A friend is always there when push comes to shove.
Their voices forever sketched in ink,
This is the everyday we spoke of.
But more importantly,
I’ll remember you.
–Found poem by Marco Reyes, excerpted from What the Living Do, by Marie How, and HPU LifeLines Poetry Workshop participants from Pennybyrn at Maryfield, High Point, NC, February 12, 2014 and February 26, 2014.