I didn’t catch your name

I didn’t catch your name
said my friend the nurse
to the doctor, who hadn’t
offered a name or smile

feverish, full of infection
not making sense of much
still upright, I felt a bother, assuming
I wasn’t sick enough to be there

hospitals, said Thomas Moore in
Care of the Soul in Medicine
can be places of healing
or spare parts factories – correct

the doctor, my data in hand
stopped and turned
drew breath then spoke, his name
like an olive branch between us

the way his speech unfurled
disclosed the land of his birth
I noticed and asked for more
he smiled, eyes sparkling

naming places he had served
revealing commitment to people
long suffering on their land
a window to his soul, perhaps

in health, we’re all hybrids
both patient and healer 
vulnerable human creatures
needing to be paid attention to

which is why when Simone Weil says
absolutely unmixed attention is prayer
I wonder about its value
as a cost-effective health improvement

Check out Hello, my name is, the compassionate care programme begun in the United Kingdom by terminally ill Dr Kate Granger

2 Replies to “I didn’t catch your name”

  1. This is beautiful, full of crone wisdom. Just discovered your site and look forward to reading everything.

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