Doctors’ Poems

A folded pair of glasses is resting on a page of an open book. The book is resting on a verdant stump covered by bright green moss in a lush forest.
No poem is needed when one can walk amongst the trees

My Own Blood

I told her I liked the lines on her face,
the way her crow’s-feet speak of longing.
And she said thank you. You are kind.

I told her I liked her smile, the way it
brings out her eyes, how, in their depth,
they speak of loss. And she said, thank
you. You are a gentleman.

I held her hand and hold her I liked her
pale blue veins and her calluses, how
they speak of work and the lessons of
time. And, smiling, she said, thank you,
you are kind, a gentleman.

I brushed her white hair and told her it
shown like a golden crown. She said,
you are kind, a gentleman. You remind
me of my son. I said, you are my mother,
and I am your son. She smiled and said,
you are kind, a gentleman. A kind gentle-
man. You could be my own blood. My son.

“My Own Blood” was written by Benjamin D. Carson, PhD, at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. It was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 173 No. 12, 15 December 2020, p. 1040.


The Family Doctor by Edgar A. Guest

I’ve tried the high-toned specialists, who doctor folks today;
I’ve heard the throat man whisper low “Come on now let us spray”;
I’ve sat in fancy offices and waited long my turn,
And paid for fifteen minutes what it took a week to earn;
But while these scientific men are kindly, one and all,
I miss the good old doctor that my mother used to call.

The old-time family doctor!  Oh, I am sorry that he’s gone,
He ushered us into the world and knew us every one;
He didn’t have to ask a lot of questions, for he knew
Our histories from birth and all the ailments we’d been through.
And though as children small we feared the medicines he’d send,
The old-time family doctor grew to be our dearest friend.

No hour too late, no night too rough for him to heed our call;
He knew exactly where to hang his coat up in the hall;
He knew exactly where to go, which room upstairs to find
The patient he’d been called to see, and saying: “Never mind,
I’ll run up there myself and see what’s causing all the fuss.”
It seems we grew to look and lean on him as one of us.

He had a big and kindly heart, a fine and tender way,
And more than once I’ve wished that I could call him in today.
The specialists are clever men and busy men, I know,
And haven’t time to doctor as they did long years ago;
But some day he may come again, the friend that we can call,
The good old family doctor who will love us one and all.


From Goodlye Doctrine and Instruction, John Halle, physician (1529 – 1566)

When thou arte called at anye time…  

When thou arte callde at anye time,
A patient to see:
And doste perceave the cure too grate,
And ponderous for thee:

See that thou laye disdeyne aside,
And pride of thyne owne skyll:
And thinke no shame counsell to take,
But rather wyth good wyll.

Gette one or two expert men,
To help thee in that nede:
And make them partakers wyth thee,
In that worke to procede.


Speak of your Science

Speak of your science, but when all is said,
     Patients like a bald and shiny head.
Age lends the graces that are sure to please.
     Folks want their doctors moldy, like their cheese.


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