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Poems About Doctors

Table of Contents

  1. The Two Doctors by Anonymous
  2. Surgeons must be very careful by Emily Dickinson
  3. Pains-Taking by John B. Tabb
  4. In the Hospital by Anonymous
  5. The Family Doctor by Edgar A. Guest

  1. The Two Doctors

    by Anonymous

    Said Dr. Do, "Drink lots of milk;
    Eat toast—there's nothing better;
    And soon you'll feel as fine as silk,
    And sprightly as a setter."

    Said Dr. Don't, "Avoid all meat,
    And deadly fried potatoes;
    No coffee, mind; and never eat
    Bananas or tomatoes."

    And Dr. Don't became a grocer,
    His patients were so few,
    The sick folks all said: "Don't? Oh, no, sir!
    I go to Dr. Do."

  2. In the Hospital

    by Anonymous

    I
    Grimed with misery, want, and sin,
    From a drunken brawl they brought him in,

    While tearless-eyed around his bed,
    They whispered coldly: "He is dead,"

    And looked askance as they went past,
    And said: "Best so. He has sinned his last."

    But the surgeon sighed: "Alas! Not so.
    A flicker of life is yet aglow."

    And day and night beside the cot,
    He stayed his step, desisting not;

    By night, by day, with travail sore,
    Fought for the life so nearly o'er—

    The worthless life so nearly told,
    And the man returned to his ways of old—

    Went back unchanged to his old, sad ways,
    And sinned and sinned to the end of his days.

    And the surgeon wrote in his private book:
    "Sin, sorrow, wrong, where'er I look.

    "I have saved a hideous life. And why?
    That a man curse God again, and die."

    II
    The mother smiled through her wretchedness,
    For the new-born babe lay motionless.

    The nurses looked at her ringless hand.
    "'T is well," they said. "We understand."

    But the surgeon sighed: "Alas! Not so.
    Life's feeble current yet may flow."

    And day and night the cot beside,
    He tireless watched, naught left untried,

    And wrestling dose and long with Death,
    He brought again the faltering breath,

    To give the poor unwelcome life
    Back to the mother who was not wife,

    Who took with loathing and with shame
    The babe that had nor place nor name.

    And the surgeon wrote in his private book:
    "Sin, sorrow, wrong, where'er I look.

    "I have saved a needless life. And why?
    That a babe risk Heaven before it die."

    III
    With pitying hands and gentle feet,
    They bore a child in from the street,

    Mangled and bruised in every limb,
    With brow snow-cold and blue eyes dim.

    And they kissed the hair on his golden head,
    And sobbed: "Thank God, the child is dead."

    But the surgeon sighed: "Alas! Not so.
    Life lingers still, though ebbing slow."

    And day and night, beside the cot,
    No means unused, no skill forgot,

    Striving as if with strength of ten,
    He won the broken life agen

    Back from the brink of Death's calm river,
    To struggle, sicken, suffer forever—

    Back from the shores where sleep the dead,
    To toss long years on a terrible bed.

    And the surgeon wrote in his private book:
    "Sin, sorrow, wrong, where'er I look.

    "I have saved a sorrowful life. And why?
    That a child taste hell ere allowed to die."

    And the surgeon closed his book, and said:
    "Three live by me who best were dead."

    The surgeon's work was done. He lay
    Upon his death-bed, old and grey,

    Outspent with giving to mankind
    His best of heart and hand and mind.

    And he crossed his arms above his breast,
    "Come, Death," he said, "I long for rest."

    "God judge me lightly. What I could,
    I strove for; yet wrought harm for good."

    Then swiftly, all of space was riven
    To where the angels stood in Heaven.

    And he heard one say: "A wise man dies,
    Shall I go down and close his eyes?"

    "Not yet," they said. "'T is in his book:
    'Sin, sorrow, wrong, where'er I look.'

    "Is he fit for Heaven who needs learn first,
    That good may underlie life's worst?—

    "Who needs to look beyond the event
    To comprehend life's full intent?"

    Then through the room was a sound of wings,
    Like a breath across aeolian strings.

    And the angels stood around his bed.
    "Unlearn Earth's falsehoods, friend," they said.

    And straightway, lo, his quickened gaze,
    Saw through the world and its inmost ways,

    To where one grovelled steeped in sin,
    Grown to the very beasts akin.

    "Ah," cried the surgeon, "I am cause
    Yon wretch still lives to break God's laws."

    "Hold!" said the angels. "Canst thou tell
    What sin consigns his soul to hell?

    "Or doubtest thou but some late grace
    May find, e'en him, in Heaven a place?

    "Pity and help; but dare not say
    Life should be shortened by a day;

    "For as men are turned by a warning light,
    So yon stray soul points wanderers right."

    The shadow left the surgeon's brow
    As lifts the mist from a breeze-swept bough;

    And he bent his wondering eyes away
    To where a cradled infant lay,

    While the mother beat her breast for shame
    That the babe must lifelong bear her blame.

    "Ah, but for me," the surgeon cried,
    "This guiltless babe had guiltless died."

    But the angels smiled on the sleeping face.
    "Greater than ours its granted grace,

    "For these frail hands they said hold back
    The mother's soul from utter wrack.

    "Pity and help. But dare not say
    Life should be shortened by a day;

    "For sweeter rest that is wage of toil:
    And purer purity held through soil."

    There dawned a light in the surgeon's eyes
    As if day broke through midnight skies;

    And his gaze sought out a darkened spot
    Where a child tossed, moaning, on his cot,

    Martyred in every shuddering vein,
    Through noons and nights all one with pain.

    The surgeon groaned. "Ah but for me
    The child were spared this agony!"

    "Soft," said the angels. "What dost know
    Of the beauty wrought on earth through woe?

    "Pity and help. But dare not say
    'T were better hasten death a day:

    "For as blossoms spring on sunless knolls,
    Some graces bloom but in tortured souls.

    "And a hundred hearts, beside that one,
    Have learned the joy of duties done;

    "Have learned unselfishness, patience, care,
    Beside that pain that none may share.

    "And the sufferer—Heaven deserts these not;
    God's arm is round him. Envy his lot."

    The surgeon lifted his dying eyes,
    And saw straight through to paradise.

    "Amen!" he breathed. "God stoops to the weak,
    The strong are they must farthest seek.

    "For every life this earth hath use,
    Despite sin, sorrow, wrong, abuse!

    "I thank Thee, Father, that those three
    For whom I wrought, yet live by me."

    Then through the room was a sudden sense
    Of something exquisite passing thence,

    Something immortally fine and rare
    That trembled, flame-like on the air,

    Trembled and passed, and all around
    Was not a motion, nor a sound.

    And in the silence, old and grey
    And marble-still, the surgeon lay.

    But his lips were wreathed in supreme content.
    He knew, at last what Life had meant.

  3. Surgeons must be very careful

    by Emily Dickinson

    Surgeons must be very careful
    When they take the knife!
    Underneath their fine incisions
    Stirs the culprit, — Life!

  4. Pains-Taking

    by John B. Tabb

    "Take pains," growled the Tooth to the Dentist;
    "The same," said the Dentist, "to you."
    Then he added, "No doubt,
    Before you are out
    You'll have taken most pains of the two."

  5. The Family Doctor

    by Edgar A. Guest

    I've tried the high-toned specialists, who doctor folks to-day;
    I've heard the throat man whisper low "Come on now let us spray";
    I've sat in fancy offices and waited long my turn,
    And paid for fifteen minutes what it took a week to earn;
    But while these scientific men are kindly, one and all,
    I miss the good old doctor that my mother used to call.

    The old-time family doctor! Oh, I am sorry that he's gone,
    He ushered us into the world and knew us every one;
    He didn't have to ask a lot of questions, for he knew
    Our histories from birth and all the ailments we'd been through.
    And though as children small we feared the medicines he'd send,
    The old-time family doctor grew to be our dearest friend.

    No hour too late, no night too rough for him to heed our call;
    He knew exactly where to hang his coat up in the hall;
    He knew exactly where to go, which room upstairs to find
    The patient he'd been called to see, and saying: "Never mind,
    I'll run up there myself and see what's causing all the fuss."
    It seems we grew to look and lean on him as one of us.

    He had a big and kindly heart, a fine and tender way,
    And more than once I've wished that I could call him in to-day.
    The specialists are clever men and busy men, I know,
    And haven't time to doctor as they did long years ago;
    But some day he may come again, the friend that we can call,
    The good old family doctor who will love us one and all.