Exercise and Poetry

One of my patients had a little paper pamphlet of poems in her room titled “poems for brother donald”. Before long another one showed up, this time jacketed with orange paper rather than yellow and titled “meter for mama”. There were little pen illustrations in both pamphlets beneath some of the poems. With permission i opened the pamphlets and began to read and immediately fell in love with the poems. They were simple and sweet but many of them very clever and the author had a signature way of closing the poem off with something witty or humorous in the last line. The poems which described nature were beautiful but ernest and deep, not flowery and puffed up like most poets of the day. Her poems had a certain heart to them that made you want to read them twice. “Who wrote these”, i inquired? My patient told me that the author had been her late sister in law. She said, “oh she would be so tickled that you liked them. Her goal was to be a published poet you know.” My patient said she would ask her family members if she had any extra copies of the pamphlets and if so i could buy one from her. I overheard her children telling her she only had two copies and those pamphlets were made for the family, not mass produced. I told my patient the pamphlets were special and they needed to stay with her but i would come visit daily and read the poems to her while she exercised if that was okay. It was okay with her since her eyesight made it difficult to read the poems with fluidity. Every time i came to bring her exercise i thumbed the pages and read her poem after poem as she exercised. Sometimes she would describe her sister in law to me. She would say often that she had been a beautiful and independent young woman. Upon finally seeing a picture of her i agreed. She said she used to take walks in nature by herself. She said she wished she paid her writing more attention when her sister in law was alive. I told her i was sure her sister in law could see her from heaven and it was never too late to read poetry. One day a book appeared near the pamphlet. “Rustic roads and other poems”. I leafed through it and found a collection of exquisite little poems in there. My favorite of her poems was in the little yellow pamphlet but my second favorite source for them was this rustic roads book. I googled her and realized there were two copies of her book for sale at this time, one on ebay and one on amazon. The person who had listed the book on ebay wanted $50.00 for the book. The person on amazon was asking $22.00. I ordered the book from amazon. It took nearly a month to ship from where it was in the united kingdom. When i received it i noted that on the inside of the book on the top corner of the first page, something had been written in pen, “St Josephine Mc R” and then beneath it, “The Priory”. I was delighted to have the book in my possession. It would be a treasured gem. It would be well appreciated. It would be loved. My favorite poem of hers so far is called “The Cowboy”. There is something about a poet who writes from their soul and thinks of what it is that they have to express, not what it is others would pay to hear.

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