Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Poetry

  • Nonsense poetry

    Avi OhryTel Aviv, Israel Recently, I read the Israeli professor Rony Reich’s translation of German nonsense poetry (Deutsche Unsinnpoesie), and among them, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Lügenmärchen (Lying Fairy Tales). I translate from the Hebrew:  …Three wished to catch a hare,On crutches they came—a team.One was deaf,The second blind, the third mute.And the fourth could…

  • Managing loss and emotional turmoil through poetry

    Maria ShopovaDublin, Ireland Loss is a universal human experience that spans borders and cultures. Patients, facing death, may struggle with existential questions and anxiety due to the loss of health. Families bear the agony of watching a loved one deteriorate and die, and then enter a period of grieving. And medical professionals, who are not…

  • The big little

    Elizabeth CrowstonCavalier, North Dakota, United States In the quiet cradle of the self, where thoughts doth swell and dip,A realm where tiny whispers in the vastness grip,As streams that trickle, gather, and in rivers flow,So doth the inner consciousness within us grow. Amidst the woodland’s heart, where shadows dance and play,Our mind’s a mirrored forest,…

  • How times change: Advice to a temp worker, 1968

    Laura Celise Lippman Seattle, Washington, United States Because you’re only a temp worker,be sure to look busy. Keep your deskneat, but not too tidy. He will checkon you regularly, peering from hisoffice to your desk. Make surehe hears your typewriter clacking onand off throughout the day, even ifall your work is done. Makesure your hem falls…

  • Dialysis

    Saher LalaniToronto, Canada for Bapu He is eighty and on dialysis.Bound to machines andfrequents the hospital. He gasps while coughing.All I can do is give himwater and some tissue. He wipes his mouth, seatedupright, resting in a chair.Then, silence ensues. He points to the table.Remember the Eid feast? Foodie at heart,he must crave foodsnow not…

  • Home is where the heart is

    Asim KhanNew Brunswick, New Jersey, United States Home is where the heart is,That’s how the old saying goes,But where is home? Apparently, no one knows. Feet perched up on the desk, the intern removes from her ears her brand-new Bose,The alarm of siren, a code blue—she sprints through obstacles high and low.Panicked, upon arrival, she…

  • John Keats statue

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, England John Keats, born in London in 1795, is one of the finest Romantic poets of the English language. He died at the age of twenty-five in Rome, where he had gone to recover from tuberculosis. The house where he spent the last years of his life, at the base of the…

  • Inscrutable malice: Ode to a virus

    Barry MeisenbergAnnapolis, Maryland, United States A mere 29 proteins, it punishes the world with an inscrutable malice.Be it another’s agent or a principal, a nefarious actor,it infects, inflames and thromboses according to its nature,Leaving a wake of death, disability, grief, and havoc. But no—not an actor at all, for no agency resides in this 29.9…

  • I’m listening

    Tulsi PatelChicago, Illinois, United States To the gentle whispers of the summer breeze,The carpenter ants’ chatter in the trees,A firefly’s luminous flash in the night,A saguaro’s water, still and quiet.The ocean’s froth, a fierce collision.Then, hoarse vocal cords, a trach’d admission,Eyes’ wells fill, glistening and bright,LVADs’ hum, a steady pump’s right. I listen close till…

  • Aphasia

    Tulsi PatelChicago, Illinois, United States Paint chips Plume of smoke Plume of feathers Peach pits Petty parrot Paris — In muddled speech dwells a world unknown,Where ordered words once danced, now overthrown.Broca’s realm, a twisted maze,Where language hides in veiled haze.The mind’s expression, bound and tied,An overpass collapsed, connections dried. Thoughts in motion, stammer and…