A visit from The Healing Muse: 'Making Rounds' and 'Contagion'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selections are "Making Rounds" by Peter Cronkright and "Contagion" by James McCague. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
Deirdre Neilen, PhD: Dr. Peter Cronkright is an associate professor of internal and family medicine here at Upstate Medical University. He gave us a poem that reminds us we have come through medically and socially challenging times before. His poem "Making Rounds" gives physicians, in particular, a reason to hope.
Virus taking hold
Calling the shots
Truth be told
Don't sleep a lot
Distance and hygiene
Where to lean
Times are tough
At rapid pace
Am I ready
For the call
Exposed to all
Long white coat
Serves as shield
Foot of the bed
Stand your ground
While it spreads
So much unknown
Our limits shown
Lots to fear
James McCague is a physician and writer from Pittsburgh. His poem "Contagion" is similarly eerie in that we do not know what disease we are facing.
"The mask becomes you," so he said, and could not see her smile.
"It's probably your eyes," he said, "lips often are disguise."
It was a yellow hospital mask with a center stain of red,
Betraying lipstick she earlier had nonetheless put on.
By now she felt a warming blush extending up her face,
And she wondered if it would peek over the mask's edge
Like an early dawn over a horizon.
And so she stood there, like Juliet on the balcony,
Six feet or so away.