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Finding poetry in out-of-the-way places

The author of the poem below is Kate Geurkink, A.R.N.P, a nurse practitioner at DHMC. Her poem was published in The Pharos, the journal of the national medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. Geurkink is the coordinator of DHMC's Poetry Project, through which patients are encouraged to use creative writing as a source of healing.

Geurkink is pictured here in her backyard, with ferns like those in her poem.

Poetry, she explains, can offer patients hope in difficult circumstances. "The fern to me is the metaphor for . . . staying and growing through rugged and roughened places—just like we might have to do with disease sometimes."


The Ferns

Small sprouts—on forest floor,
alien to me but—
pushing up from nothing . . .

No special care,
No priming
No tedious tending.

You rise—growing
In roughened areas
Again and again
With gorgeous greenery.

I see—unfolding
unwinding . . .
Soft in your presence
Of not giving up.

Quiet beauty of the forest—
You reveal yourself with the seasons—
Faithfully filling in the empty spots

Where there was nothing but tangle
There is now the rich green, hopeful growth.

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