Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Philip Terman: All Her Life

Philip Terman?—you don’t know me.

I’m Patricia Lamb, Palliative care nurse.

Do you know what that means? 

 

I work with patients who are dying. 

And I received an odd request. You know

when some are dying they get a last wish?

 

Well this woman’s last wish—

I hope you don’t mind this strange call—

is—all her life she’s written poetry.    

 

And now, her cancer has spread,  

and she always wanted to know—I hope

you don’t mind—from someone—

 

I got your number from the university—

I asked about someone who could judge

what was good poetry—

 

and they gave me your number—

if her poetry is good.

If she would have been a real poet.

 

We’ll be moving her into hospice soon. 

Might you mind looking at a few—

just a few—poems and tell her

 

if you think she was good enough?

That she would have made a good poet?

This morning she showed me a picture

 

she drew—many years ago, she said—

of a child—perhaps it was her?—writing

in the center of a round table

 

before a bouquet of flowers —roses I think—

That was what she’d have wanted

for the cover if she ever was able to have

 

a book of her own.  A book of her own.

I remember her saying and then her face flushed

a little, and her eyes looked away.

 

So will you look at them 

and let her know if she was a good poet?

It would mean so much to her.


 

Author’s note: This poem is based on an actual phone call I received from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Copyright 2017 Philip Terman.

One comment on “Philip Terman: All Her Life

  1. Saleh razzouk
    November 29, 2017

    The poem opens the debate.. Is literature a copy of the reality or it makes it up. The balance is not a function of literature, creativity is a radical action. So we are back to the same old new question, where does poetry end and where dos reality start from.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 29, 2017 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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