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The Art of Palliative Medicine - 2016 Semester 1

This poem, Jessie’s Beach tells of the place the young woman I visited is in at the moment, choosing life, and choosing to view her life in the most positive way that she can, standing upon the memories and the support of her family and close friends. I chose to write a poem because she is a softly spoken, peaceful, kind, relaxed, and fun person, and I hoped I might be able to capture this in the language of the poem. I also thought using the symbolism of a beach would be a special way to talk about where this woman is now, where she has been, and where she is headed, and her absolutely awesome attitude.

PDF version of "Jessie’s Beach"

Breathing the warmth
Filled with the light
Lungs are afresh with the salt in the air

The watery mess, glistening on
The waves of uncertainty surging ahead

One piece of sand, one handful, one beach-ful
Each one was a moment, a memory in time
Racing the dog, running far as you can
The strength and the heartache, the kids give their best

There’s building of castles, finding of treasures
Walking at sunset holding your Favourite One’s hand
Letting the footsteps make shapes in the memories
Together a beach, are these pieces of sand

Looking out over times you were lost in the water
Deep and out of control, which way is the air?
But now, on the beach, there is freedom and sunshine
The love and the hope form a welcoming platform
As the water rears up and comes tumbling home

Some say, but its winter
It’s cold. You’ll get wet
Your clothes will get dirty, you’ll ruin your shoes
Just come back inside, since that’s what we expected
Summer has gone, who knows what you might lose

But this is real life
The beach is still waiting
And although it’s winter, there’s sunshine and sand
The life that you’ve got
Is the one you’ve been given
So live like you’re living
Always fill up your hand