Poetry & Medicine, part II.

“I could prescribe any of a dozen antibiotics to cure
or even a thrombolytic agent
to stave off a heart attack; 
but what I
yearned for was the elixir of poetry,

which could heal the otherwise
condition of
my broken heart.”

This quote, by poet and physician Rafael Campo*,
beautifully captures the essence of the union
between the arts…and the art of medicine.

Therefore, today I will let him speak for me. 
This is from his poem What the Body Told:

“To somewhere distant in my heart, they cry.
I look inside their other-person’s mouths
And see the wet interior of souls.
It’s warm and red in there–like love, with teeth.
I’ve studied medicine until I cried.”

*Rafael Campo is an internal medicine physician and poet currently on faculty at Harvard.

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A few bloggers I would like to ask to share a quote or two:

Rules of the Quote Challenge:

1-Post on three consecutive days.
2-You can pick one or three quotes per day.
3-Challenge three different bloggers per day.

With love,

23 replies »

  1. Beautiful quote, Phoebe. I’ve heard of Campo. Now I must read some of his poetry! 🙂 Have a great weekend (hope you’re not experiencing the darn storm hitting the east coast). 🙂

  2. Poetry is amazing……..Dr. Campo has it spot on…… really can heal the heart or at least put an “emotional bandaid” on it until the healing begins.


  3. From a non-medical (medically untrained) perspective, I cannot help but think that so many visits to a doctor would be unnecessary if we could get a healthier perspective on our life and how it fits within our world. Poetry can surely help in that area for those who are prepared to give it a chance. Psychosomatic illnesses can possibly be helped in much the same manner.

    If poetry makes us think, that is undoubtedly a good thing. If it makes us realize that our life, with all its challenges, is not much different from anybody else’s life, then we have no reason to feel isolated but rather, among friends.

    If poetry clearly indicates imperfections in people’s lives, then we may realize that our striving for continual perfection may not be the best use of our time.

    If poetry clearly indicates that putting ourselves at the bottom of the list of priorities is totally wrong, then perhaps we will treat ourselves much better. In fact we may treat ourselves just as good as we treat others!

    Poetry can be really cool! Poetry can rule! If there has to be graffiti on the wall, then let it be good poetry! 🙂

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