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Opening the word hoard is edited by Gillie Bolton. Items should be sent to her address at the end of her editorial.
POETRY FOR MEDICINE AND HEALTHCARE
Schoolboys have a master to teach them, grown-ups have the poets.1
Look around – there’s only one thing of danger for you here – poetry.2
(interrogated at gunpoint on his deathbed, when his house was raided)
If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire ever can warm me I know that is poetry. I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.3
‘When Nehru lay dying, he had written out the last verse of Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening on a piece of paper by his bed, and kept repeating the lines (‘And miles to go before I sleep…’).4
Poetry should be part of every modern hospital... It’s a powerful force, which can help us through the darkest times. I would like to see more poets in residence, more poetry books in waiting rooms, more poems on the walls, more training in creative writing for doctors, and more poems printed on primary care leaflets.5
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DOCTORS' POEMS, ARISTOTLE'S POETICS
Let not young souls be smothered out before
They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.
It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull….6
Remembering that all healthcare staff are, and are allowed to be, emotional people is critical amid current upheavals in their education and governance. Some of those with whom we work would have been happy in Plato’s Republic. Plato banned most poetry from his …
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