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The Art of Palliative Medicine - 2016 Semester 1

I chose this form of media as I’ve always had an interest in creative writing and a narrative form of writing. Poetry provides a more artistic lens to examine such an emotional experience, wherein hopefully this can be better portrayed to the reader than simply a description. I structured the poem to align chronologically with the process of visiting the patient in palliative care so as the readers get an idea of what is actually being shared and what emotions were evoked throughout each stage of this. I believe that what the reader takes from my poem is up to them though the themes of isolation, respect and privacy have hopefully been articulated, reflecting my own interpretation and responses to the interview.

PDF version of "There She Sat With Her Book"

There she sat with her book, all alone in her nook
Lifeless she did stay, until the moment we made our way
Slowly she crept up to the door, where we smiled to aid rapport
Invited us in she did, without any chance to kid

Lead to the living room we were, how ironic for what would stir
But continued did words inert, of all things about the earth
From people to politics and even plants, anything to gain a chance
For she knew all to know, that is of her tales of woe

We sat there in the light, trying to make our plight
But she kept much to chest, even remarking about who’s blest
On we went until enough was said, that our words were of the dead
Not such an easy task, for none should ever simply ask

Once open was this door, did emotions begin to pour
Not all at once but drip and drab, as did it make us all quite sad
Came and went did speech of departure, for some time was needed in good pasture
So returned did we to objects in our sight, a cafe across the road aiding this respite

Shared soon was something mutual, death may not start at a funeral
To make her life here-on preferential, to accept fait she said was essential
She gave us much of her perspective, beyond that of her own family collective
In the dark her children had been kept, of which she may source some regret

Her solace in the house was clear, sons and daughters not so near
Though efforts were made to stay, none could be there day to day
She was far from incapable, thus aid for her was unavailable
This is not to say, that without company she was okay

Eventually the time to talk wearied, all our thoughts had been queried
I took a lot from her that day, her inner thoughts for me would stay
Though it’d been emotionally tiring, her diligence and realism were inspiring
Lastly something expressly clear, death for all would at time be near

I’d like to think something was reciprocated, though her thoughts may not be abated
Unbalanced though this exchange had seemed, perhaps it was a chance to glean
That her thoughts be voiced outside her head, so as it would help her sleep in bed
Or better yet to open again this door, for someone else to hear her pour

So we left her to her peace, so as her reading may not cease
Again we smiled for rapport, at the threshold of the door
To the living room she’d return, hopefully not for her yearn
And so she’d sit with her book, all alone in her nook