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Doctor's diary [UK]:
Daily, the surgery waiting-room is a witness to how surprisingly few people read - preferring to let time pass, very slowly, and to stare into space. The possibility that they might be diverted by poetry leaflets distributed by the charity Poems in the Waiting Room is thus very encouraging - particularly as it will provide an opportunity to reflect on the great issues of Life and Death. Surprisingly, perhaps, the most famous medical poem was written by a scientist, JBS Haldane, while a patient at the University College Hospital.

It opens:

I wish I had the voice of Homer,
To sing of rectal carcinoma,
Which killed a lot more chaps in fact,
Than were bumped off when Troy was sacked. [...]

Poems in the Waiting Room Interview:
What kind of writing are you looking for?

Our guidelines are very restrictive. Readers are patients waiting for a consultation and are probably anxious and concerned, and possibly even emotionally disturbed. A poem is acceptable only when it is sensitive to these feeling in ways that alleviate the pressure and avoid new emotional challenge. Poems should therefore flow from the springs of well-being. Hope is all-inclusive, but like images and symbols, such as home and acceptance, safe journey and arrival, friends and companionship, care and security, harvest and abundance, work and reward, books and learning, beauty and transcendence, spring and renaissance, together with all the joys of love and loving, are eminently appropriate.

But also: Elizabeth Bishop - In The Waiting Room
...Suddenly, from inside,
came an oh! of pain
--Aunt Consuelo's voice--
not very loud or long.
I wasn't at all surprised;
even then I knew she was
a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed,
but wasn't. What took me
completely by surprise
was that it was me:
my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all
I was my foolish aunt,
I--we--were falling, falling,
our eyes glued to the cover
of the National Geographic,
February, 1918...
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