History of Medicine in Poetry

Once again in honor of Poetry Month, the History of Medicine Society of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will be meeting in the Howe Conference Room on April 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm to discuss the history of medicine in poetry. UTHSCSA faculty, students, and staff will be reading selected historical poetry, as well as their own original poems.

Take time from your work and study and come enjoy the readings and discussion.  Everyone is welcome!

Kindness First Known in a Hospital

The place seemed new and strange as death,
The white strait bed, with others strait and white,
Like graves dug side by side at measured lengths,
And quiet people walking in and out
With wonderful low voices and soft steps,
And apparitional equal care for each,
Astonished her with order, silence, law:
And when a gentle hand held out a cup,
She took it as you do a sacrament,
Half awed, half melted, – not being used, indeed,
To so much love as makes the form of love
And courtesy of manners.  Delicate drinks
And rare white bread, to which some dying eyes
Were turned in observation.  O my God,
How sick we must be ere we make men just!
I think it frets the saints in heaven to see
How many desolate creatures on the earth
Have learnt the simple dues of fellowship
And social comfort, in a hospital.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Published in  The Doctor’s Window: Poems by the Doctor, For the Doctor, and About the Doctor. Ina Russelle Warren, editor.  Buffalo, New York; Charles Wells Moulton, 1898.

For more information on the History of Medicine Society, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.