Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Welcome aboard

Myron F. Weiner
Dallas, TX


Charon carries souls across the river Styx

Welcome to your afterlife!
I am Charon, your boatman; your guide
from life to death.
Life differs for everyone who is born.
Death is the same.

Although, stooped, I am strong enough
To convey you to
See the river the Greeks called Acheron.
To drink the waters of Lethe.

I extend my hand in welcome
To my ancient barge.
Do not fear. Take the step.
You are beyond harm.

There, that was easy.

Nobody has ever fallen overboard,
Watch your step.
Others cross with us.
Yes, you may sit.
My seats are worn, but made comfortable.
By the many have passed this way.
By all means look back.
Most do at first.

Now we are underway

There is no haste.
I steer and push with my worn Ancient pole.
I know the way, but I follow the stream’s
Urging as it pushes and pulls us
From the fading shore.
Yes. You may face forward like the others
There is nothing more to see behind you.
No further issues? Then
As the stars fade,
You will drink
And forget.



Thanks to Thornton Wilder for the metaphor of the chairs


Image credit

Alexander Dmitrievich Litovchenko (1835-1890) “Charon carries souls across the river Styx” 1861. Russian Museum, St. Petersburg



MYRON F. WEINER, MD, is a retired geriatric psychiatrist and was formerly Vice Chairman for Clinical Services and Head of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program at the University of Texas Medical Center at Dallas.


Fall 2017  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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