Gaudeamus Igitur

Stone, John

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Sep-09-2005
  • Last revised: Aug-22-2006


Gaudeamus Igitur was read by Stone as a graduation address for the class of 1982 at Emory University School of Medicine. The poem begins with "For this is the day of joy," and ends with, "Therefore, let us rejoice." Between these two lines, Stone (both poet and physician) piles image after image, detail on detail, paradox on paradox: "there may be no answer," he writes, "For you will not be Solomon / but you will be asked the question nevertheless." He writes about the sorrows ("For whole days will move in the direction of rain") and difficulties ("For the trivia will trap you and the important escape you") of medicine, as well as about the joys of medicine ("For there will be elevators of elation").


Also published in Stone’s collection, Renaming the Streets (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1985) and in J. Amer. Med. Assoc., 249: 1741, 1983.

Primary Source

Music from Apartment 8: New and Selected Poems


Louisiana State Univ. Press

Place Published

Baton Rouge