This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Theresa Marie

Whose heart is this that beats within a breast
Grown thin, these years of sad reclining night?
Whose lungs are these, that breathe at whose behest,
Whose eyes gaze forth with eerie distant sight?
If dwells a soul behind that roving eye,
It apprehends what purpose in this twist,
That now a soul's required to supply
Some justifying reason to exist?

But if this body sleeps, and suffers not,
What earthly law or heavenly command
Demands it should now bear starvation's lot,
The seal of life or death a wedding band?
For if it now be Mercy's mark to kill —
God help us when the Devil gives his bill.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


Jeff, the formal approach to your poem is exquisitely rendered in meter and rhyme for the subject. I am especially taken by the struggle and argument you present. There are many humane considerations that you raise that go well beyond the convienince that the political arena seems to have chosen in this case.

Your line questioning the role that the institution of marrigae plays is especially insightful. This area of the subject places an emphasis on relationships that go well beyond the subject yet carries with it the same compassion for this terrible tragedy that the poem exudes.

This is a very skilled and humane gesture. Thanks Jeff for taking it on.
Thanks, Dan. As a physician, I have personal experience in this area of ethical dilemmas, and as I have gotten older, my attitudes have evolved, or let's say they have been clarified. Physicians have to make decisions regarding treatment of terminal or handicapped persons as a matter of course. But I draw a clear distinction between active treatment of disease, which may or may not be in the patient's interest, and basic humane treatment — food and water, and the alleviation of unnecessary suffering.
"...the aleviation of unecessary suffering." That says it all for me Jeff. Why, oh why, is that so complex for the few who sometimes rule? Is it too simple? Too humane? It's maddening!

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