Saturday, April 16, 2011

Poems for healing at the hospital

The other day I went to the University of Virginia Medical Center to visit a parishioner. When I checked in at the visitor center, I found a wicker basket sitting on the counter. In the basket were little paper rolls with ribbons around each.

Each roll contained a poem, courtesy of the Jefferson-Madison branch of the public library (which incidentally is just around the corner from St. Paul's). I was told it was "Poetry Day" at the Med Center, and I was invited to take a few rolls to patients. So I did.

What a bright, wonderful gift for people in need of seeing something other than beds, monitors and monotonous television sets.

Poems and healing. I like that.

Here's one of the poems I brought to a patient -- it came with a green ribbon around it, a perfect color for the poem inside. The poem is about baseball and dreams of being fast. Here's the poem:

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The Testing-Tree
By Stanley Kunick

On my way home from school
up tribal Providence Hill
past the Academy ballpark
where I could never hope to play
I scuffed in the drainage ditch
among the sodden seethe of leaves
hunting for perfect stones
rolled out of glacial time
into my pitcher's hand;
then sprinted lickety-
split on my magic Keds
from a crouching start,
scarcely touching the ground
with my flying skin as I poured it on
for the prize of the mastery
over that stretch of road,
with no one no where to deny
when I flung myself down
that on the given course
I was the world's fastest human.

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