bitter thanksgiving poemAll Poetry

A Bitter Thanksgiving [a poem]

Many of you may recall having read these lines from past Thanksgivings; it is a retelling of a visit I had with one of my patients during this time of year—a woman whose life and struggles were unlike mine in many ways, but who nevertheless taught me many things about courage and integrity.

I hope you enjoy these words, and have a blessed Thanksgiving week.


Allow me to spin upon the spindle
a tale of an encounter true.
A patient once, a homeless mum,
her words now recounted for you:

The hour of autumn arrives anew
when mirth and feasts abound.
But let me confess my days to you,
true gifts which have been found…

The steady cadence of my heart,
voice to praise when souls fall dark,
vision to behold each fresh day’s start-
For this, I am thankful.

The assured exhale of every breath,
joys gone by, its memories kept,
cloth to shield from winter’s death-
For this, I am thankful

Days when I can veil my cries,
days I look you in the eyes,

to know on night lies brighter skies-
For this, I am thankful.

So for this…I am thankful.



Phoebe Chi, MD
Phoebe Chi, MD

A physician-educator and managing editor of PhoebeMD: Health + Inspiration, Dr. Chi aims to inspire, inform, and empower the reader community. She is the author of Being Empowered for a Healthy Heart: A personal guide to taking control of your health while living with chronic conditions, a poetry-infused health guide, and founder of Pendants for a Cause, a nonprofit organization with the purpose of raising funds to fight illness, provide care, and bring awareness to medically vulnerable populations around the world.

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82 replies »

  1. I am currently considering applying to med school and reading your posts gives me a lot of hope. I was scared I would lose empathy and be jaded after a while but…bref, happy thanksgiving.

  2. As with many great stories – and sometimes too few poems tell stories – this tale told so wonderfully leaves me wanting so much more…and thus I imagine. Thank you, Phoebe, for that gift this Thanksgiving Week. May yours be as blessed as you wish.

  3. Good morning Phoebe – This is beautiful poetry and a wonderful expression of emotions. Thank you so much for sharing it with us…
    Have a terrific Sunday…

  4. i have always thought people in the medical field grow detached from emotions empathy and sympathy with time , i think after reading ur blog i have to revisit my opinion.
    happy thanksgiving

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