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Poetry and Medicine
September 19, 2012

The Meditation Garden

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

Author Affiliation: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee (

JAMA. 2012;308(11):1072. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9881

The only window in the waiting room
Is darkened with a single silhouette
Overlooking the annuals in bloom.
How easily the failing blooms forget
The time put in them—someone knew firsthand
The tedium, the toil, and the hours.
It helps to think that others understand
The beauty in the brevity of flowers,
And that the bench where petals are undone
Is softened as the sprinklers water stone,
As if the seat, just wide enough for one,
Could know how grieving must be done alone.

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