Art & Poetry in Medicine
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Meditations on God

Eternity

What waits for us in that eternity
which is our destiny? For what purpose
should we need the endless days of life,
what great work unending waiting for our hand?

It is all the loves we could not bring
to blossom, in the days of our youth,
all those things unspoken, dreams forgotten,
flames of desire, which quickly smoldered?

It is all the wealth of health we wasted
seeking greener pastures hence, forgetting
to water the garden whence we stood gazing,
somewhere, into a future that never came?

It is all whom we never met, but could have, all
those multitudes of millions, great and small,
who shaped the mountain of the world, life
by life to the heritage of man and God adding?

It is all those so many years from now,
the children who will never know us,
except for the stories writ in every iota
of their being, and stories told by mothers?

It is all that which we never knew we lost,
a Paradise regained, which we knew not 
how to yearn for, having stepped foot there
only long ago, the glory of innocence and joy?

And yet all this, to know the world and all
that was and will be in it, is an instant’s task
when we must happily fail to know its Author,
Whose Being all eternity is far too short to love.


Morning Prayer

When the ray of day touches my slumber-filled eye,
let its goodness fill my soul, o Lord, and illumine
all that is good, all that is holy in my heart, that it may
as mirror reflect the joy of a new day, sunny or cloudy.

For my spirit desires to speak words of comfort,
to bring happiness to a downtrodden world, to seek
in each the spark of heaven’s timeless brilliance,
to treat each as equal, as brother in life’s daily toil.

Let compassion be my guide in the hours of light,
and mercy be my companion in the hours of night,
let each moment fill with meaning and happy memory,
let my hands accomplish noble works, worthy of my being.

For no other purpose gives me the joy of living,
than to brighten the sorrows of many, to be as the sun
persistent, and clear the overcast of morn with the warmth
of summer eve, inviting for all, pleasant and generous.

And when I see the last glimmer of the day’s dusk,
let me rest, knowing I have done well, knowing my
heart grew to contain another person, knowing my
mind added to its horizon a new expanse of knowledge.

No regret can then haunt me, no music can inspire
sorrow of missed joys, no triumph nor failure can move
my soul to despair, only smile and happy note can evoke
recollection of ecstasy, and promise of future bliss.

So many friends I have yet to discover, so many faces
so many hugs to exchange, that my only worry should be
that the hours of my life will not suffice to fill them all:
let me thus get busy with joy, and rush to love another.


Evening Prayer

Let me sing onto you, My Lord, with silence
praying in this hour of the night, only star and
moon witness to this glorifying thought of You
and Your Love, which gave me the ended day.

Give me, o God, dream in the darkness of mind,
wisdom in the rest of my bed — dispel all that
which did not find in You beginning, and plant
another Eden in my soul, in which to wander.

Set Your Angel, my Guardian, to keep watch
against every terror of the shadows, from thief
and enemy may his wings hide me in peace,
untouched by any worry of tomorrow’s duty.

May he see me as when I rested on my Mother’s
breast, listening to the gentle beating of her heart:
sweetest lullaby, song of peace, whisper of God
which taught my heart the song of the cherubim.

All these acts of love, take them as my offering,
all these failures, take them as Your burden:
give me but the yoke of wonder, of eternal joy,
the happy duty to adore You, o Star-Maker!

Let me rise again with the star of day, and feel
upon my face the breath of morn — let me see 
the treasure of the East in golden ray, long-awaited,
which reveals Your Mercy to the waking world.

May I meet that gift with obedience to Your Will,
and advance in the day the salvation of all I meet,
that I may greet them with You in my last slumber,
waking to the light of unending day in Paradise. Amen.


Faith

My faith, though as brittle as twigs
that roll underfoot, crushed onto dust,
unable to hold up anything, may yet
be the nest of the Spirit’s burning flame.

Faith, yes faith, is the sum and substance
of reason, and ignorance masquerading
as reason cannot admit truths lying beyond
our senses, though their glow shines everywhere.

When Christ stepped towards the drowning
Peter, He could hold him as long as trust
was in his heart — but once it admitted
this miracle was absurd, the Rock sunk.

Does a child open his eyes to a broken world,
a globe mired in a fiery ocean of war and despair?
A child knows no war nor despair, nor hate —
he knows only longing, love, and slumber.

A child comes from the mind of God,
a citizen of Eden expelled from womb
into his Mother’s waiting caress, seeking
the life-giving bosom and beating of heart.

He knows no other world but divine vision,
felt no touch but Father’s tender embrace:
any evil that may imprint upon his being
is taught, contrary to the fiber of his soul.

Let not then the light of thirty thousand suns
dim the brilliance of that vision, once glimpsed,
and destined to be seen forever, but with the
faith of a child let me walk the stormy waters of life. 


The Thoughts of God

What if all there is, is the Mind of God?
And all that is and not is found within 
the compass of God’s intellect, all the
worlds of past and future, of this present?

What if Man is the greatest thought of God,
a thought made in the image of His
omnipotence, given freedom to wander,
in perfect union with His omniscience?

What if the universes are the poetry of God,
once writ but always spoken, time and time
again, with tender love towards those
thoughts of God, that they may inspire Him?

What if Heaven is the Dream of God,
a masterpiece of peace and grace
to be beheld and adored, lived forever,
by the beloved thoughts of God?

What if Hell is to be forgotten by God,
as did the cruel thoughts of God when
they wandered by God, for them broken,
and forgot their Author, seeking another?

What if the rising of the sun and its setting,
the flowers upon our paths, the stars above
our heads are the musings of God, notes
in vast symphony of breathtaking beauty?

And all this divine song and verse, the end
and the beginning, death and life all by God
lived as do the thoughts of God — is it not
lovely, the reality we are too blind to see?

Adrian Poniatowski, MD Adrian Poniatowski, MD (2 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Writer

University Hospital of Krakow, Poland


Adrian Poniatowski is native New Yorker and a physician poet. He studied history at Cornell University before going on to finish medical school in Poland at Jagiellonian University. He received an appointment to stay on at his alma mater as Lecturer in Pathophysiology, in addition to his duties as an intern physician at the University Hospital of Krakow, Poland. He draws inspiration from his Catholic faith and long walks spent meditating on the sublime beauty of daily life. His artistic motto is Ars neptis Dei, a paraphrase from the Divine Comedy proclaiming that “Art is the granddaughter of God.”