Showing 161 - 170 of 483 annotations in the genre "Poem"

David

Birney, (Alfred) Earle

Last Updated: Jul-26-2004
Annotated by:
Ratzan, Richard M.

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

David tells the apparently fairly simple story of two young friends feeling their youth, their growing friendship, and their love for the mountainous outdoors of rural Canada. The narrator, unnamed until nearly the end of the poem, falls under the charismatic spell of David, the leader and more experienced climber of the two.

After introducing us to David, the narrator describes a particular climb they had been anticipating for months. During the ascent, the narrator slips. David saves him and then slips and falls himself, landing many feet below on a jagged rock that has broken both his fall and his back, leaving him paralyzed. David asks his friend to push him over the cliff citing paralysis as no way for someone like himself to live, i.e., in a wheelchair. The narrator acquiesces.

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Talking to the Family

Stone, John

Last Updated: Jun-25-2004
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The physician prepares himself to deliver the news of a death to a family. His white coat symbolizes this role in his professional life; and when he takes it off at home, he becomes only a man with chores to do around the house. Yet that chore, replacing a lightbulb, seems to symbolize rebirth and the sustenance derived from personal life which allows the physician to continue in his often difficult role.

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Death

Stone, John

Last Updated: Jun-25-2004
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The author has witnessed both prolonged dying, occurring "slowly as rust"; and sudden, unexpected death, as "find[ing] the doorknob come loose in his hand."

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Cadaver

Stone, John

Last Updated: Jun-25-2004
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

As a medical student Stone moves ("in our own tense tendons") into a new understanding of the body, in which knowledge of names ("the word") gives power over the mysteries that lie under the skin. "Ribs spring like gates." Within the gates they [students] find the secret cause of death: an aortic aneurysm. But the aneurysm isn't just a fact; it tells a human story, a story of an "old sin-- / the silent lust / that had buried itself . . . ." Thus, the cadaver speaks.

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Autopsy in the Form of an Elegy

Stone, John

Last Updated: Jun-25-2004
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Stone's 12 line elegy leaves the reader breathless as style and content merge to create the surprise of unexpected death. During autopsy a clot is discovered in an otherwise "nearly perfect" being.

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Answering The Phone

Stone, John

Last Updated: Jun-25-2004
Annotated by:
Woodcock, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In twenty-four short lines and colloquial diction, this poem movingly conveys the immense change that the deaths of several people close to the speaker have made in the simple act of answering the phone. "Used to / you'd say / Hello / and think nothing of it," the poem begins, but after the deaths "all that changed / and you think / now before you answer the phone / you take a deep breath . . ."

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The Truck

Stone, John

Last Updated: Jun-25-2004
Annotated by:
Woodcock, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A truck bearing the sign: PROGRESS CASKETS -ARTHUR ILLINOIS is the occasion for the folksy speaker of this six- stanza poem to make some humorous reflections on boosterish attitudes towards death. "A casket / may be progress up in Arthur / but it's thought of / down here / as a setback."

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The Art of Healing

Auden, W.

Last Updated: Jan-28-2004
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Auden wrote this poem in memory of his own physician, Dr. David Protetch. He begins, "Most people believe / dying is something they do, / not their physician . . . " Auden, whose father was a physician, knows better. His father had warned him about doctors who are too aggressive or too concerned with money. Fortunately, he found a consultant who thought as his father did, perhaps because he (Dr. Protetch) had himself "been a victim / of medical engineers / and their arrogance, / when they atom-bombed / your sick pituitary / and over-killed it."

While prescribing for Auden’s minor complaints, Protetch himself was "mortally sick." Because of this, Auden felt that he could trust his doctor to tell him the truth about his medical condition: "if I were dying, / to say so, not insult me / with soothing fictions." Thus, Auden praises Protetch for having been, "what all / doctors should be, but few are . . . " [78 lines]

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Annotated by:
Woodcock, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The author, a writer and patient, humorously complains to the AMA, in mock-heroic rhymed verse, that doctors are practicing writing without a license. (It seems this would not be such a problem if doctors were not writing on top of all the medical miracles they perform--and if their books were not so popular!)

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A Language of Hemophilia

Andrews, Tom

Last Updated: Dec-30-2003
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This long poem in 20 sections seeks to explore, dissect, and create a language for the experience of hemophilia. "Blood pools in a joint / The limb locks . . . " The poet first dissects words like "trans / fusion" and "hema / toma," and showers the reader with images (like splatters of blood?).

In section 5 he states his purpose in the familiar jargon of educational objectives and later, in section 10, he utilizes spacing and line breaks to convert standard admonitions into poetry; for example, "These child- / ren should / not / be / punished, and / their / play with / other / children / should / be super- / vised . . . " Isolated phrases and sentences appear--some from the hospital and some from the "outside" world.

In some phrases the worlds of outside and inside mix, as in "Arterial sunrise, capillary dusk." Section 13 consists of laboratory reports. The poem breathes in and out, between syllables and long lines, between prosaic statements and poetic images. Finally, the poet finds words for the endless rhythm of hemophilia, "Gratitude and / fear--Your relentless / rhythm--I move to / it still . . . "

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