On Difficult Truths, Anger, and Compassion: Recent Poems in ‘Art of Nursing’

By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

Loafer Mod by pdstahl / Patrick Stahl, via Flickr

“Why couldn’t you leave cleanly?” asks the narrator of Ann Sihler’s poem, “Leavings,” featured in the June Art of Nursing. The poem, written in response to a suicide, speaks to the emotions of those left behind. Its central image, a pair of “oxblood loafers lying there / for all to see,” is somehow both mundane and horrifying. It’s a stark poem, suffused with the narrator’s anger; yet its lack of pretension also affords us  relief.

The married man with “schoolboy cheeks” in Nancey Kinlin’s poem, “Practicing at Post Office Square,” has just heard what no one wants to hear: “the result / is positive.” The poem, featured in July’s Art of Nursing, gives us the disclosure—from the nurse’s point of view. It’s a poem about mistakes and compassion, about what it feels like to be the one delivering bad news. Kinlin’s spare, clear writing doesn’t flinch from its difficult subject.

Both poems are free online (you’ll need to click through to the PDF files). We invite you to have a look, sit with them, and tell us what they evoke for you in the comments.

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2016-11-21T13:16:20+00:00 July 30th, 2010|nursing perspective|0 Comments

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Former senior editor at AJN.

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