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Poetry about a deep, dark subject

Upper Valley resident Tom Brody, a former Sports Illustrated columnist, was a good sport about a recent colonoscopy he had at DHMC.
Photo: Mark Austin-Washburn

Tom Brody wrote the bit of poetic whimsy below for a recent course in the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth. Before retiring in 2001 to Grantham, N.H., Brody taught English for 30 years at Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut. He also used to write a regular Sports Illustrated column, penning such memorable lines as "Win one for the Flipper" about the Miami Dolphins' first season—a reference to the team's mascot, the title character from the '60s TV show.

But Brody explains that there's also a serious side to the "ode" below, for it describes having a colonoscopy. "If you want to set your life in order," he reflects, "I think I would rather go to a doctor than a priest. I feel that when it comes down to the crunch, I'd rather have somebody . . . who has gone through the rigors of med school and all those gruesome things."

However, "gruesome" isn't a word Brody uses to describe his latest colonoscopy, which he received at DHMC. His verdict on the procedure? "It was one of the easier ones."


Ode to the Colonoscopy

To get some insight into one's anatomy,
Nothing beats a colonoscopy.
If beauty, in fact, is only skin deep,
Then peering into a bowel is a profounder leap.

What in the world will that scope reveal
About a man who's had so much to conceal?
A man who has gone at times astray
Has much on his mind that he'll want to allay.

A priest is fine for a soul that's wavered
But give me a proctologist if I want to be saved.
No doubt the pit beckons for want of redemption,
But I'll settle for ridding my tract of infection.

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