Poetry in Medicine

Poetry in Medicine . . . “Hearing the Silence”

Hearing The Silence

Earl Stewart, Jr.


The lightning has flashed,

Surely the thundered dared to roll,

Yet she heard the silence.


Together, we stood, shrouded in fabric

Of white and cotton, and

With careful submission,

Deemed it worthy to furnish exposition

Of this dear woman’s untimely condition.


With tears in her eyes and age on her face,

She balked at speech.

Her lips were laced gently with spoken reflections of her course—her race.

Yet, it was evident she, at her very center,

Was mild and meek.

What a holy experience it must be

To learn one’s fate.


How strange and peculiar an entity the fruit of life must be,

Often expectations are dished and dashed.

Yet, with a bleeding heart I dared smile in confidence

That our hope was for the best.

Our anticipation was largely, however, that eventually all the rest

Would ensue,

Lest we make the motion to treat.


Then, all was quiescent.

We comforted this our pleasant patient.

Though our profession be ancient in days, her condition,

In her eyes, was God-sent,

As she prepared as a Pilgrim ought to reach her final ascent

To her ultimate destination.


As she remained silent,

A new hope was nascent.

As we all, taken and shaken together,

Blotted out the unwelcomed noise of the news

And whispered sweet nothings of positivity, knowing her spirit was moved

And, like the rest, was under emotional duress.

For we, like her, were hearing the silence.


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