In the introduction to Harvesting the Dew, Judy Schaefer poses the question, "Are nurses mere observers?" She goes on to reply, "in my view the nurse has a vantage point of not only observer but inflicter." This book is a collection of 60 poems arranged in three sections ("Day Shift," "Evening Shift," and "Night Shift") that correspond with three different nursing milieus and moods.

The book also includes an explanatory essay, "A Literary Nurse Bearing Witness to Pain," which concludes "literary nurses then are no longer anticipatory handmaidens but are a profession of men and women with their own highly valued language and structure for observation . . . Literary nurses will further define the caring that is crucial to the nursing profession."


As her poetry attests, Schaefer is far from being a detached observer to illness and suffering. These poems bear witness to her engagement and commitment. They arise from the time and place in the poet's experience "when all the meat is torn away / and all the music stands alone." They give voice to "the swing between nothing and everything" that lies at the heart of human experience. Judy Schaefer's poetry is courageous and moving, carrying us beyond the "thin thin silence" to a powerful vision of healing. Harvesting the Dew is a fine achievement.


Vista Publishing Company is located at 473 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740.

Primary Source

Harvesting the Dew


Vista Publishing Company

Place Published

Long Branch, N.J.



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